Saturday, September 09, 2006

No Thanks, I Have Enough Guilt

There are two kinds of religious guilt, Catholic and Jewish. Catholic guilt asks you to repent for things you've done against God. Jewish guilt is much worse. You must repent for things you've done against your mother. That is a task that can never be completed. Both forms of guilt have become universal. Just as you don't need to be Catholic to accept Catholic guilt, you don't have to be Jewish to accept Jewish guilt. In fact, Jewish guilt, even though there are many fewer Jews than Catholics, is the more prevalent of the two. After all, there are athiests who don't believe in God and have no guilt regarding sins against Him. But everyone has a mother.

Since 9/11, however, we've been commanded by certain groups to saddle ourselves with another kind of religious guilt. We are now required to indulge ourselves in Muslim guilt. This is a new kind of guilt, one that is tied to that mythical afliction; Islamophobia. We in the West must wallow in guilt for suspecting our Muslim neighbors of having terrorist sympathies, of perhaps having "dual loyalties", or of only being loyal to jihad. We are also guilty of assuming that they hate us if we are not a Muslim, especially if we are Jewish. According to The Detroit News,
Local Muslims and Arab-Americans hoped that, by now, discrimination and harassment would have ebbed. Instead, they say, things have only gotten worse. Each new event involving extremist Muslims -- like the recent terrorism charges in Great Britain and the Israeli war against Hezbollah -- increases misgivings about local Muslims. From hassles at the airport, to delayed citizenship, to verbal taunts, local Muslims, including South Asians and Arabs, say they feel increasingly segregated.
There is a deep sense of uncertainty that faces the community," said Saaed Khan of Rochester Hills, an adjunct professor of Near East Asian studies at Henry Ford Community College. "Many Muslim Americans feel a double sense of siege, one by the terrorists and the other is the way the society views them."
There are statistics.
Evidence of intolerance abounds. A Quinnipiac University poll Aug. 29 revealed that American voters say, by 60 percent to 30 percent, that authorities should single out people who look "Middle Eastern" for security measures. Only 6 percent of Americans have a positive first impression of Muslims, according to a poll conducted last year for the Council on American Islamic Relations Research Center, and about 20 percent admit to being intolerant of Muslims.
And there are anecdotes.
Anecdotes also are plentiful. Taxi drivers of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent in Metro Detroit describe the scorn and derision of passengers, who sometimes holler epithets at them and refuse to pay fares.
They claim that they are being unfairly maligned and are really on our side.
"I think the media after 9/11 was obviously concentrating on the threat of terror," said Tarek Baydoun, president of the student government at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. "But a lot of our leaders did get exposure and were able to reiterate that Muslims and Arabs in America and around the world don't support terrorism.

"I just don't know if that can counteract the whole bias against the community. When there is a threat, people are more willing to stigmatize."
Alas, it is all so sad. Or is it?

During this past summer, when Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, blasted rockets filled with ball bearings at civilians in Northern Israel and used the civilian population of Lebanon as human shields against the IDF, there were daily pro-Hezbollah rallies in Dearborn Michigan and other areas with large concentrations of Muslims. This report from NPR covered some of the action and some of the cheerleading for terror and outright Jew-hatred.
Daily protests occur in Dearborn. At one recent demonstration, organized by the Congress of Arab-Americans, about 1,000 people attended. College-age men asked, in call and response fashion, "Who is your army?" Protestors responded: "Hezbollah." "Who is your leader?" they were asked. "Nasrallah," the chanters responded. Many carried placards of the Hezbollah leader. A few days earlier at an even larger demonstration, more than 15,000 turned out, about half of Dearborn's Arab community.

Those who regularly attend the demonstrations tend to be the most strident.

"Oh, Jews, remember Khaibar," the marchers chant. "The army of the Prophet will return."

The line is a reference to Khaibar, a Jewish town north of Medina that, according to Islamic tradition, was overtaken by the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. Once defeated, the surviving Jews of Khaibar were forced into serfdom. Two decades later, they were expelled from the Arabian peninsula.
Then there is the Jew-hatred demonstrated by local imam, Mohammed Ali Elahi. As Imam Elahi tells us here:
“We need to have another interview, of talking about Hezbollah,” Elahi said, “whether that is a terrorist organization or not. I know that--legally--in the U.S. now, Hezbollah is on that list. And whether we agree with the law, or disagree, we have to follow the law of the land.”

U.S. intelligence officials say Hezbollah receives up to $100 million per year from the Iranian government. But Elahi praises Hezbollah's role in fighting Israeli forces in Lebanon.

Elahi said, “They were resisting against occupation. I think that is something that is supported even by our government.”

[ . . . ]

Regarding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent call to wipe Israel off the map, Elahi wrote:

--"It is very clear that Mr. Ahmadinejad was not making an anti-Semitic statement."

--"The Iranian president's quip can best be understood in the context of the Declaration of Independence."

--and, "Israel must stop instigating violent conflicts in the Muslim world."

Another Elahi column described Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin as a "Palestinian spiritual leader, (who) had a heart full of love for humanity." Yet another compared the Iranian constitution to that of the United States.

[ . . . ]

And what about 9/11? According to a 2001 upi article, Elahi suggested that the Israeli Mossad was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center. Elahi says he was misquoted. But he still is not convinced that al-Qaeda carried out the attacks alone.

“Honestly, in my heart? I don't have an answer for that,” Elahi said. “Maybe, and maybe not. They may have done it just by themselves, or they may have had some help from some others.”

But Elahi said he is still not sure whether Israel was involved in the attacks.
And Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News agrees.
Siblani said Elahi merely reflects the views of his constituents in Dearborn. Views like this, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “It's a genocide against the Palestinians--I am telling you this,” Siblani asserted. “I am not Imam Elahi, and I am telling you that what the Israelis are doing against the Palestinians is genocide.”

Was it even worse than the Holocaust? Yes, Siblani affirms, “It is worse than the Holocaust, of course.”

When asked if Hezbollah is a terrorist group, Siblani replies, “No, They are not terrorists. Absolutely not. No. They are freedom fighters.”

And what about Hamas? “Freedom fighters as well,” Siblani said.
So, are we to understand that suspecting Muslims of anything less than the utmost loyalty to the United States is wrong, but that it's absolutely fine for Muslim leaders and spokesmen to spread the vilest Nazi-inspired anti-semitic canards? We are supposed to ignore their "clever" word plays as they try to portray Israelis who are defending themselves as genocidal nazis, while they refer to any group that is willing to kill Jews and attack Israel as "freedom fighters".

Our new Muslim guilt also demands that we forget this, this, this, this, and especially this. There are more of course, various jihadis have been arrested throughout the world, fortunately before they could carry out their attacks. And after every incident, whether halted or carried to fruition, we are reminded that Islam is a religion of peace. It's been hijacked by a few misguided extremists. We are encouraged to look to the "root causes" of terrorism. When all else fails, blame the Jews.

Muslims have been complaining since 9/11 that they are unfairly targeted. Muslim groups have spent countless hours and millions of dollars in attempts to improve the image of Islam; not to improve Islam, not to halt the teachings of jihad, the joys of martyrdom, and rabid Jew-hatred, but to improve its image. A lot of us infidels are looking past the lies and the whining from the Muslim community. We are not going to apologize for suspecting Muslims of the worst. We do realize that not all Muslims are terrorists and that not all Muslims support terror. But we have also seen the worst Islam has to offer and very few voices in the Muslim world object. The ones who do object, become targets. We don't feel guilty in the least. To Muslims in Dearborn and around the world, you've got more than just an image problem.

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