Is Islam compatible with a free society?
Photo from an Ashoura "Festival", where participants deliberately cut themselves on the scalp and bleed for all to see (Hat Tip to the blog of Princess Kimberly).
The compatibility of Islam with a modern and free society has to be one of the most important questions of our times. Our attitude, the way we approach and deal with the Middle East, depends on it. The more I learn about Islam, the more likely the answer would seem to be "no"; at least not without some degree of reformation.
Many other people have been asking this very question, and their thoughts and conclusions about it have made for informative reading. Here are some of the more interesting ones I've come across:
INCHING TOWARD "NO"
Dr. Sanity has a look at the question "Is Islam compatible with a free society?" Here is an excerpt of her thorough reasoning on the subject:
...President Bush has bet everything on the hope that Islam can be changed if it is infused with some democratic opportunities and freed from some of the political and religious tyranny that has dominated the Middle East. If such a democratizing process had been started--and carried through-- a decade or two earlier, well who knows how much the situation might have changed by now? But it only began after a devastating attack within our borders finally spurred us to mobilize our resources and fight back both militarily and strategically.
And, as I said in an earlier piece, contrary to the infantile imaginings of the antiwar and so-called "peace" movements, Bush's strategy actually represents the best possible hope for peace; even if it is slight.
It is a strategy that faces the grim reality of Islamic contradictions and historical brutality; yet has enough optimism and goodwill in it to be genuinely worth the price we are paying in Afghanistan and Iraq. If it works--and I haven't entirely given up hope yet-- millions of deaths might still be prevented. And if the peace crowd really cares about peace, then they would do well to reconsider their own perverse antics; and the Democrats their knee-jerk opposition.
Because, if they succeed in their determination to undermine American policy as it is now formulated; or if the extremists succeed in eliminating any voices for moderation and tolerance; then there will be only one strategic option open...
This is a very thoughtful look at what we are facing. I would like to also print here the Three Conjectures she mentions, but instead I'll recommend that you read the whole thing HERE.
Unity at Last! Democrats and Republicans Both Dis Arabs
Posted by Vanderleun at The American Digest. An excerpt:
...Neither side will point to the obvious cause of the slip-sliding away of the ports deal: Muslim and Arab behavior over the last six decades peaking at 9/11 and rolling on since then quite nicely, thank you.
The question is not "Do Americans distrust Arabs and Muslims?" They do. They distrust them all across the political spectrum -- with the exception of the Left side of what now passes for the Democratic Party, and the members of the Republican Party and assorted plutocrats that have profit in their plans.
The question is "Should Americans distrust Arabs and Muslims?"
Well, when you have a rag-tag collection of cultures and a global religion that regularly turns out to burn down embassies, drive Airplanes into skyscrapers, plants bombs along roadsides on a daily basis, has its "representatives" run into crowds, buses, and subway tunnels and self-detonate, beheads random innocent individuals, and promises to conquer the world and put all unbelievers to the sword or into slavery, you don't exactly feel good about those folks. While it is true that their actions get a lot of ink and air-time, you can't say that their PR creates a lot of mellow, positive feelings. What it creates is fear, suspicion and distrust...
You can read the whole post HERE.
How dhimmi are we?
...as I know from inside, the media both here and in Europe go to extraordinary lengths to suppress the sort of material that could incite ill feeling [against Muslims] that way. This began the morning of 9/11/01, with the non-coverage of street celebrations in Arab ethnic neighbourhoods of Brooklyn and Detroit. As recently as last month, mainstream media were editing out London cartoon protesters carrying signs reading, "Behead Those Who Insult Islam," "Europe You Will Pay," and so forth.
On the other hand, there is patient, exhaustive coverage of anything that might incite anti-Western hysteria in the Islamic world. For even while the largest media outlets were refusing to show those bland Danish cartoons -- and doing so out of a pretended "respect for Islam" -- they were dredging up additional sordid photos from the Abu Ghraib outrage in 2004, and running those prominently...
There is an interesting comment about "western post-hippie self-loathing" being very compatible with dihimmitude. You can read the whole thing HERE.
An article by David Warren. The author exposes why the "cartoon riots" were not really about the Danish cartoons at all; they were the result of a deliberate propaganda campaign to stir up riots, with lies and deceptions. An excerpt:
...The cartoons were nearly ignored when they first appeared: there was one death threat from a Muslim immigrant, but police determined the man was mentally ill. Trouble began stirring when imams called attention to the cartoons, with incendiary sermons in Danish mosques. An imam in Aarhus publicly reminded the editor of Jyllands-Posten of what had happened to the Dutch filmmaker, Theo Van Gogh. But even that could have blown over.
From several sources, we now know that word of the cartoons was then carried systematically through the Muslim world -- to principal mosques, madrasahs, and government offices starting in Egypt. This was done by delegations sent by Ahmed Abu-Laban, the Saudi-supported Imam of Copenhagen. And in addition to the dozen cartoons that had actually appeared in that obscure provincial newspaper -- most fairly innocent, and one actually satirizing opposition to Islam -- the delegations' "media kits" included as many as 30 graphics that had never appeared, and by their nature would never appear, in a Western mainstream newspaper. For instance, a photo of a man dressed as a pig, over the caption, “This is the real Mohammad.”
The fake pictures not only outnumbered the real ones, they were much nastier. Many were in the style of anti-Semitic cartoons that appear frequently in Arab papers, but turned around to target Muslims instead of Jews. And the covering letter, which I have read in translation, was full of outrageous lies about events in Denmark, and misrepresentations of what had been said by Danish journalists and politicians.
It is this document, and not any copy of Jyllands-Posten from Sept. 30th, 2005, that is at the root of the Muslim riots, the Saudi-sponsored pan-Arab boycott of Danish goods, and various fatwas and other acts that put Danes and other Europeans, who had never previously heard of Jyllands-Posten, in peril for their lives.
That the first violent acts were performed in Gaza and Damascus, under the oversight of Hamas and the Syrian Baath party, respectively, speaks volumes. That the Danish embassy in Beirut was torched just after the one in Damascus, says more. Lebanese police arrested nearly 200 provocateurs, most of them Palestinians and Syrian nationals. These people also tried to start a rampage through the whole upscale Maronite (Levantine Catholic) neighbourhood that is also Beirut's embassy quarter, by pitching rocks into random windows, and leading anti-Christian chants...
(bold emphasis mine) On the one hand, it would seen that there is a radical element in Islam that is determined to advance Jihad with the west; who are using all means available to provoke it. If we take the bait, we are then playing their game on their terms.
On the other hand... what other hand? You don't always get to chose who you fight; if you are being attacked, you sometimes have to defend yourself, or perish. The only question is, HOW to best fight this adversary? I say, preferably on OUR terms, not theirs.
You can read the complete article HERE.
For those curious about "Ashoura", here is a repeat of a post I did about it a while back:
The Muslim holiday of "Ashoura": a bloody celebration of intolerance
...The observance of Ashoura is one of the most important events in the Shia calender. Ashoura marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, in what is now Kerbala, Iraq. The death of Husayn was the beginning of the Sunni/Shia split, which persists in Islam to this day.
In the past, many Shia men have demonstrated their devotion to Husayn by letting their blood flow freely from self-inflicted wounds. Today, however, many governments have tried to ban this practice, with varying degrees of success. In Lebanon, the practice is permitted, and a bloody commemoration of Ashoura takes place in Nabatieh every year.
Most participants make a small cut on their head, and then beat the wound with their palm--or in this case a sword--to keep the wound open and bleeding.
Participants then march in groups around the town, yelling chants to express their devotion to Husayn and the Prophet...
WARNING: link contains barbaric pictures of people cut and bleeding, including babies and children. It seems they mix politics and religion at this ... "festival", too. If you dare, you can see the whole thing HERE. I hope this isn't the sort of thing we are expected to be "tolerant" of. It's far more offensive than the Danish Cartoons could ever be, IMO.
From The American Thinker:
Top ten reasons why sharia is bad for all societies
Islamic Stoning under Sharia law, as described at Wikipedia:
...The person to be killed is wrapped in a sheet and buried; male convicts are buried from the waist down, female convicts are buried deeper to prevent the breasts from becoming exposed. The crowd then pelts the victim with stones small enough so that one cannot cause death by itself. In some places, if the criminal manages to struggle free and escape, further punishment is cancelled...
Sharia law... something that needs to be defended by liberals everywhere?