Sunday, October 17, 2010

Can't We Have a Grown-up Discusssion of Islam?

Here is a clip that is all over the internet with Bill O'Reilly getting the ladies on The View all riled up. I am glad the Ground Zero Mosque is being discussed because it raises consciousness about the very important issue of Islamic threats to free speech and to freedom in general. It is an opportunity to increase our understanding of the various inter-related issues involved in the 1000 year old clash between Islam and the Christian West.

Unfortunately, this screaming match does little to advance the discussion of the issues. However, it is worth asking what assumptions are being made by Goldberg and Behar that make them so sure of themselves, so self-righteous, and so certain that O'Reilly (and 70% of Americans) could only be saying what they are saying because they are ignorant and prejudiced.

The essence of their argument is that if you say "Muslims killed 3000 people on 9/11" then you are inciting violence against all Muslims everywhere and you are saying that all 1 billion or so Muslims in the world are terrorists. For them, there are only two categories: terrorists and nice, normal Muslims. That is it. And the only people who get placed in the first category are the ones who actually pull the trigger or set off the bomb. Everyone else - all the rest of Islam without exception - goes in the second category of nice folks like us who just want to live in peace.

That means that the religious fanatics who ruthlessly rule Iran, stamp out all opposition to their rule and threaten their neighbors (not just Israel) with war are in the second category. This means that the vast terror networks including training camps, bank accounts, thousands of agents traveling around the world, the rich donors who fund all this activity and the religious leaders who issue fatwas against those who insult Islam and who bless and provide a religious undergirding for this terrorist network - all these people are in the second category. In other words, they are not terrorists. And then there is the relatively recent sect of Islam called Wahhabism, which teaches the duty for Muslims of hating Christians and Jews. This sect has become a plague covering the earth because of the use of Saudi oil money to fund mosque building all over the world and to provide support for the export of Wahhibi teachings.

The problem with the ladies on The View is that they are not open to making necessary distinctions between Wahhibi and other forms of Islam, between supporters of terror networks and Muslims who genuinely want to live in peace and between Iranian theocracy and Muslims who want nothing more than to assimilate to the political traditions and institutions of Western liberal democracy. Without these distinctions, they are unable to engage in a grown-up discussion of what is right and wrong with Islam and in what way and to what extent it must be opposed by a culture that does not want to be taken over by extremist strands of Islam.

The key is to recognize that the problem is not terrorism per se. The problem is what terrorism is being used to promote, namely, a theocratic, totalitarian political system that is bent on world domination both of moderate Muslims and the rest of us as well.

1 comment:

Gordon Hackman said...

My guess is that Goldberg and Behar are predictably liberal, which means that they share the reflexive tendency to always give the benefit of the doubt to any group deemed a minority in Western culture. I have difficulty taking Goldberg seriously at all after her disgraceful treatment of John McCain, in which she accused him of supporting slavery because he said that he thought the constitution should be interpreted in the way the founders intended it to be understood. She seemed either unable or unwilling to make the simple logical distinction between the implications of what the founders wrote into the constitution, when properly understood and applied to all people, and what some of them practiced, which clearly fell short of what they wrote.