After living in Iran during the overthrow of the Shah, and the ultimate takeover by the Islamic theocracy, the “Death to America” chant is more than three words to me. The mobs in the street were acting on the chant and murdering anyone who resembled an American. Fortunately I look more Middle Eastern than most Middle Easterners. Since then, I have witnessed the same chants in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Libya. It is a chilling sound and one that gets personal very quickly. Remembering the crowds, the individuals were not wild-eyed radicals, these were the same people I drank tea with the day before. One of the activists actually worked for me in Egypt and I came to find out that he was a ranking member of the Muslim Brotherhood. This was back in the 1970’s.
Today, when I see the same types of marches in many of these same countries, the same feelings of fear come rushing back.
When I hear Imam Rauf talk about islamo-phobia, I am incredulous. How about America-phobia? If the “Moderate” Muslims want to reconcile with the West, they need to start by getting their radical brothers to stop blowing stuff up! Especially our stuff! At the very least, come out with a consistent anti-terrorist condemnation statement. Not, “Well, we denounce terrorist but American has some blame”. They need to move the period just to right of the word terrorist. Also, if the Muslims want to start the reconciliation process, start by being empathetic to American sadness over the loss of over 3,000 innocent victims of 911 and MOVE THE MOSQUE ELSEWHERE. How about Martha’s Vineyard as an alternate location? There are NO Mosques there! We are not against Islam; we just want to keep this site free of remembrances of the perpetrators. They were all Muslim. IF you want to make a point that you WON, then keep fighting to build the Mosque at Ground Zero. IF you want to start reconciliation, Move the Mosque elsewhere. It is simple.
Relationship History-West with the Middle East:
America has in fact supported or acquiesced to the European sponsored carving up of the Middle East in 1917 and also during and after WWII. This resulted in perpetuating the Wahhabi Monarchy in Saudi Arabia; the set up of the Shah of Iran in 1941; acquiescence of the ascendancy of Saddam Hussein in 1979; the reign of Hafez al-Assad in Syria and several other insertions or usurpations of power by dictator style leaders. The European goal was to establish governments in this region that they could “deal with” economically and establish a stable supply of oil. For those Americans who HATE America, it should be noted that America did not establish colonies in this region as did our European allies. It took a series of treaties in 1917 and after WWII to extricate Europe from outright colonial control over this region.
The series of Gulf Wars pre and post 911 were all executed in support of other Arab nations, Kuwait, or in an effort to rid countries of radical elements. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya and other radical Middle Eastern and North African countries came to realize that they could not attack the West head on. They developed a series of terrorist’s networks to serve as their proxy armies. Thus, the birth of such organizations as Hezbollah and Hamas are being used to carry out atrocities while shielding their sponsors from blame. This is the epitome of cowardice but to them the ends justify the means.
In the final analysis, Americans, left and right, must come to the realization that we are at war and Islam is at the forefront of this war. You can argue all day long that this is a peaceful religion but their current and past history belies this argument. That is not to say that there are not peaceful Muslims. But it is contrary to the Qur’an for a peaceful Muslim to denounce a radical Muslim HONESTLY. Why do I say honestly? Because, the Qur’an allows a Muslim to lie if it furthers the cause of Islam. It is permissible to lie under the circumstances of taqiyya (making false statements) and kitman (omitting key facts), which are basically to advance the cause of Islam1. This is also why it is difficult to accept the words of Imam Rauf especially when he makes contradictory statements. It is also makes it difficult for some to accept that Reverend Jeremiah Wright and perhaps even the President, have truly renounced Islam in favor of Christianity. The President’s father, Barak Obama, Sr., was a Muslim and according to their faith the President would have been Muslim at birth.
The war we fight is not only against the Islamic Radical elements that are direct threats to our safety, but also a war within Islam itself inside of the US and other Western countries. Islam needs to undertake introspection as to how it approaches the Western world at large. It needs to make statements, like the various Vatican Councils have and several of the Christian Councils have over time, that clarify the Religion’s position vis-à-vis its coexistence with Christianity and other religions and also their position relative to Sharia Law and Western governments and various Western legal systems. If Muslims wish to engage in practices that are antithetical to Western laws, then they should remain in countries that condone those practices. At the very least, they need to respect Western Laws while residing in western countries. I certainly was respectful of Islam when I lived in various countries where Islam was the dominant religion/culture.
Hiding behind freedom of religion does not permit “extra legal” activities
whether the religion condones polygamy or honor killing.
1 Qur’an References: 16:106; 3:28; 9:3; 40:28; 2:225; 66:2; 3:54