Monday, August 20, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #342 (August 19th, 2007)

Sunday August 19 –

Jeff Seiler and his beloved Dallas Morning News return:

< "Here we go again with Mr. Dreher: `A moderate voice silenced' May 13, 2007. He begins so eloquently:

I've asked myself a thousand times since 9/11: Where are all the moderate Muslims?

< "It's a very good question, one that you've asked, Dave, and tried to answer, and I think, ultimately, that answer is clouded by the separatist nature of the Muslim belief to which Mr. Dreher referred in his column of April 1st, 2007, that Muslims are a people and a faith apart from the rest of the world's population.

< "Dreher also points out that

Most of the U.S. media has done a lousy job of critically covering Muslim organizations here, of asking serious questions about what their leaders believe and [from] where they get their funding. These folks are quick to shriek "Islamophobia!" when a journalist points out their connections to radical Islam or asks straightforward questions about what they believe. The idea – and it's a successful one – is to squelch a legitimate and necessary public discussion.

< "Well, yes; of course. I remember that I lived in 2003 and 2004 in Richardson, Texas in a predominantly Muslim community, where I co-mingled with Muslims daily. I paid the zakat in exchange for the several times that they let me make copies at the community center for free. I shopped at the halal grocery store. But, all the time, I felt them studying me, never letting down their guard. They were never forthcoming, just distantly cordial. Unfortunately, their inscrutable nature cast doubts, in my mind, on the lot of them, whether they harbored ill intent, or not. >

And, of course, that's reciprocal. I occasionally go to a Muslim grocery store in town and to a Muslim kiosk at Your Kitchener Market and I usually greet them with "Asalaamwa alaikum" [peace be upon you] which is reciprocated with "Alaikum asalaam" [and, upon you, be peace]. Phonetically if you want to try it, it's A – SA-lamb – WA – a – lay – koom. They're appreciative of it, I think, particularly after 9/11 but I don't think for one minute that they imagine that I'm remotely Muslim and from their point of view, I'm not. I don't go to a Mosque. I'm not dressed as a Muslim. I'm not married. I don't have kids. Right after, they'll say something very North American like "How are you doing, man?" And I'll say, "Fine. Yourself?" And with each other, it's usually shortened to "Salaam" and then answered by "salaam". I don't know if that's just a Western corruption or if that's standard in most Muslim countries. One of the guys at the grocery store last year asked me, "So how was your Christmas?" I was tempted to answer, "Fine, how was yours?"

I got into a short discussion about knowing the "peace be upon you" expression with a girl at the Muslim kiosk (she was wearing the head scarf, of course): told her that I pray five times a day and fast in Ramadan and that discussion got as far as my observing a Sabbath on Sunday. "But, the Sabbath is on Friday," she said. And that was about it.

One of the guys who was there once, I jokingly said, "You staying out of trouble?" And he instantly got that "OH NO! RCMP!" look on his face, which was perfectly understandable and I knew that I shouldn't have said it the minute his expression changed. That's the reaction that you got, I'm sure – particularly if you referred to "paying the zakat" in exchange for photocopying. You were probably from the FBI. What's interesting is that I don't think the RCMP or FBI bother to know things like that, so Muslims can definitely take it at face value. I'm just saying "peace be upon you". I'm just paying the zakat. Nothing to be suspicious about. But guys have ended up in the Guantanamo Hilton just for who they say hello to on a regular basis – not a lot of them, but some -- so I can't say that I fault them for being suspicious of any white guy trying to sound Muslim.

And, obviously, they've learned the "Islamophobia" thing from the gays just as the gays learned it from the feminists and the feminists learned it from the blacks. Hey, if it keeps people from asking you actual questions and having to come up with actual answers and let's you go on your merry way, unimpeded, why not? "Just call the question racist and you don't have to answer it." "Just call the question misogynistic and you don't have to answer it." "Just call the question Homophobic and you don't have to answer it." "Just call the question Islamophobic and you don't have to answer it." Of course, every group that makes use of it makes the further use of it that much more untenable but – as we have seen with The Long Sordid History of the Pariah King of Comics – it still has pretty close to a 100% successful track record. The comic-book field universally agrees that I deserved to have my career ruined because I dared to say that I oppose feminism even though no one can come up with – or even TRIES to come up with – a refutation of the Sixteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast. They just refer to Dave Sim's "repellent views on women" and that's all they have to do. The Pariah King retains his crown for another day. It especially works on liberals (there is no `shriek' of "Islamophobia": Dreher's knee-jerk Western liberalism just hears it as a shriek and responds to it as you would respond to a shriek: by instantly stopping whatever it is that he was doing) and since virtually all of the media is made up of liberals that's the reason that you have at least a dozen major subjects now that Can't Be Discussed Under Any Circumstances. The situation has started to unravel now that newspaper columnists like Dreher have started running out of things that they're allowed to talk about. You can only do so many columns about the wacky things your teen-aged kids get up to and then you're going to remember the reason you got into the pundit racket in the first place. It's the reason the feminists are being so tentative about the War on Terror. If people are allowed to ask hard questions of Muslims, pretty soon they're going to think they can ask hard questions of feminists…and as we've seen here on a regular basis, the feminists don't HAVE any answers to even the basic questions let alone hard questions. So a big YIKES! for the feminists somewhere up ahead. Still at least fifty years by my reckoning.

But, returning to the original question: Where are the moderate Muslims?

Well, I think they're finally starting to turn up although not in a way that liberal Westerners would describe as moderate. Musharraf authorizing the "take no prisoners" assault on the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) and Jamia Hafsa seminary for women was, to me, a good example of moderate Islam coming around to George W. Bush's point of view. If you have a mosque full of heavily armed radicals who are talking about taking Pakistan back to the seventh century and eradicating Israel and calling Jews pigs and monkeys and hiding behind women…

[That might be an unfair characterization if the Jamia Hafsa seminary for women was an ACTUAL Islamist militant political adjunct to the Lal Masjid: that is, Islamist women taking the same "hill to die on" approach as the men: Give me Sharia Law or Give Me Death]

…and children you only let it go for so long (the George W. Bush approach) rather than letting it go on indefinitely (everyone else's approach). You give the ones who want to leave and be arrested a chance to leave and be arrested (and keep a sharp eye out for imams like Maulana Abdul Aziz trying to flee in burka drag) (they got him. He's in police custody). And then you go in with guns blazing and eradicate everyone else. Clean up the mosque and turn it back into a mosque. Says in the paper this morning (July 26) the mosque is being painted green and renovated and will reopen for Friday prayers tomorrow. Good deal. God IS Great.

Big spike in suicide bombings right after that. I don't deny that for a minute. It's going to happen. But it is just a spike and there's a huge difference between a) forcing the Islamists back underground and suffering a bunch of terrorist suicide bombings temporarily as a result and b) letting them set up right out in the open and offering themselves as an alternative Sharia Law government-in-waiting.

It was obviously a very hard choice for President Musharraf to make, but the difference between moderate Islam and radical Islam is pretty basic. You either believe there is no way back to the seventh century that makes any sense -- as Muslims we have to deal with the real world and figure out, INDIVIDUALLY, what we are going to adopt and what we are going to reject -- and you are, therefore, a moderate Muslim or you believe the only recourse is to go back to the seventh century and everyone has to go back to the seventh century (which means stoning adulterers to death, amputating the hands of thieves, etc. no music, no technology, no internet, no television, no sculptures, no art, etc.) in which case you are a radical Muslim.

I've been thinking for a while that what is required is Sharia Zones in Muslim countries where everything is kept right where it was in the seventh century. Big compound, gated community. If you go in, you are under Sharia Law with no recourse for any other kind of justice. You're found with alcohol, you're executed the same day. You steal a loaf of bread, you get your hand cut off. You commit adultery, you get stoned to death. That kind of thing. But there would also be no guns. No guns in, no guns out. No militias, no freelancers, no foreign jihadists. You go in, you surrender your guns. Knives, clubs, swords. Anything they had in the seventh century you are welcome to take in with you. Bash and chop and slice and dice the chicken soup out of each other in the name of True Islam, but only the religious authorities have guns, only the religious authorities execute Sharia justice.

The community would have to have flexible enough borders to expand as the population grows and it would have to have some sort of rudimentary market economy so everyone is working and putting food on the table either autonomously or by trading with the outside world. Physically, I don't think there's any way around the fact that it would have to be structured in a way comparable to the way in which the Israelis handle Judea and Samaria: only a handful of open border checkpoints manned by heavily armed military types – in this case secular Muslims (presumably volunteers from Turkey, Cyprus and any other secular Muslim environment you can find). A handful of ways in and ways out. Lots of traffic-baffling cement barricades and barbed wire and then you have to pass through a metal detector and all of your belongings and your physical person are searched. After all the guns and explosives are taken away, there you are: Seventh Century Land.

The idea is divide and conquer. Separate the Muslims who just want to live in the seventh century (which I think is a sincere and worthwhile desire and ambition on the part of a lot of Muslims) from the Muslims who want to conquer the known world and execute all non-Muslims by making it into an either/or proposition. In the former case, you live, in the latter case you die. It also takes all the pressure off of the secular Muslims by allowing them to offer extremist Muslims a viable alternative. If you don't want to live in a secular Muslim world, go live in Seventh Century Land. If you do want to live in a secular Muslim world, shut up about Sharia Law and leave us to enjoy all of our Western junk.

And it takes the pressure off of the good Muslim women who just want to live in a healthy moral environment without all of the disgusting crap that makes up Western society, but who don't want that healthy moral environment to have bullets flying around at the drop of a hat. They haven't got a place like that right now.

Once you have those two groups taken care of, how many angry, heavily-armed Muslims do you think you're going to have left? How difficult do you think it will be to execute them all? Compared to what the Allies faced in World War II, I think it would be a cakewalk. A bunch of Red Mosque operations – which took all of three days -- a handful of suicide bombings and Bob's your uncle.

Needs work, but at least it's an idea.

< "The most alarming, to me, part of Dreher's article is as follows

Dr. [Zuhdi] Jasser warns that many Muslim denunciations of terrorism are deceptive. "Terrorism is simply a means," he says. "The Muslim community has not had a debate about whether or not to endorse the ends of the Islamists" – namely an America that is thoroughly Islamicized and organized around Sharia Law.

< "He adds

…the rest of us need to take seriously the warnings these anti-Islamist Muslims are sounding: Muslim leaders' honeyed words when talking to the media and English-speaking audiences do not necessarily make them moderates or friends of peace [emphasis mine].

< "Ultimately, as Dreher notes, PBS' choice not to broadcast the views expressed above, in the documentary `Islam vs. Islamists' is indicative, to me, and to Dreher, of the media's willingness to be dupes for a front by which they are too easily and willingly fooled. We would be fools to follow PBS' approach, in my opinion." >

Well, I think that saying "The Muslim community has not had a debate about whether or not to endorse the ends of the Islamists – namely an America that is thoroughly Islamicized and organized around Sharia Law" is like saying that Christians haven't had a debate about whether or not Jesus is coming back in the flesh in the clouds over Jerusalem. It has been pretty much a given for Muslims from Day One that it's God's intention that some day the entire world will be Muslim just as it has been a Christian belief from Day One that Jesus is coming back in the flesh in the clouds over Jerusalem. For virtually all Muslims a completely Islamicized America is a given. America will either become a Muslim country or it will be destroyed as God destroyed all of the other cultures in history who didn't repent and turn back to God. You're either Mecca and Medina or you're Sodom and Gomorrah. That isn't debatable in most Muslim frames of reference. You don't debate things that your religion takes as a given.

I think an Islamicized America would be outside of the present conception of universal Islam because America isn't already a Muslim country or verging on becoming a Muslim country which is what most Muslims are talking about when they talk about universal Islam. There are countries that are governed by Muslims and there are countries that aren't. The countries that are governed by Muslims are mostly engaged in fighting Shiites if they're Sunni or fighting Sunnis if they're Shiites, oppressing the non-Muslims within their borders, supporting conquest by Muslims in neighbouring countries and seeking to unite with other Muslim countries. All other countries are dealt with on a "back burner" basis. Keep your eyes open for weakness and exploit it. If you encounter irresistible strength resort to guerrilla tactics. Both are seen as signs of God's will manifesting itself. The sense that I get isn't that they really expect that suddenly in the next decade Muslims are going to take over America and the rest of the world but Muslims are expected to be ready when God makes that possible – and to believe that God will make it possible -- and to work towards it in the meantime. God traffics in the miraculous (i.e. a handful of guys armed only with box cutters taking down the two largest buildings in the world). If God decides America has to go, America is toast. To the would-be jihadist, that's "the path of God". In my view, Tony Blair in Britain was too accommodating of Islam, as was Jacques Chirac in France and consequently that's where the Islamist fringe are going to be putting in their efforts: wherever they detect weakness (that is, conciliation).

America fought back, hard, and continues to find back hard and (I assume) will continue to fight back hard as long as George W. Bush is president. As long as that's the case, I don't think the extremist Muslim fringe is going to think too seriously about striking American targets in America. In fact they seem to be limiting themselves to attacking Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. The message has gotten through: Don't mess with Texas.

But I really do think that we – that is, the civilized world – turned a corner with Musharraf's decision to exterminate the Red Mosque extremists. That's the best hope for the future, in my view: moderate-to-secular Muslims ruthlessly turning on Muslim extremists and exterminating them.

THEN we can all sit down and have a nice chat.


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