Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Banning and The Burning

Remember all the hoopla about the "Fundamentalist Christians" that wanted to have Harry Potter banned from school libraries because it might teach children "witchcraft"?

Or, maybe you remember a while back when PC people talked about banning Mark Twain, particularly, Huckleberry Finn because it used the word "nigger"? Mind you, I do remember that we had to read this book, out loud, in class. Every person, including me, stumbled when we came to that word. Does that mean it should be banned? I don't think so.

According to Little Green Footballs, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has succeeded in getting NRO (National Review on Line) in removing books from their purchase list as "hate speech against Islam".

I haven't read either book. I don't know what they say. I do know that I have read many different books on Islam and the middle east from many aspects. I even read Queen Noor's book on the Palestine and Israel issue (which is where I was reminded about the Balfour Declaration); a "history of Islam" written by an Islamic scholar; "the Crusades" and a number of books regarding that period from Christian AND Muslim writers; I even read several selections from the Qu'ran(yes, in English, I can't speak or read Arabic). Because I wanted to know everything I could from every angle. Why? I'll get to that in a moment.

According to Robert Spencer writing at Frontpage Magazine, who is the author of Jihad Watch and Onward Muslim Soldier, a book that was removed:

In fact, however, The Life and Religion of Mohammed is not “anti-Muslim hate literature.” It was written over eighty years ago by Fr. J. L. Menezes, a Roman Catholic priest who was a missionary in India. I have read it, and there is nothing inflammatory or inciting in it; in fact, it is suffused with a pastoral love for Muslims.

He goes on to quote Fr. Menezes and compares a few sections to the Qu'ran which, of course, support or use exactly the word or phrase that Fr. Menezes used. Finally, he tells us why it is important to watch this group and its actions against "hate speech".

“Hooper said anti-Muslim rhetoric often leads to discrimination and even violence.” Fr. Menezes calls for no violence. Everything he says about Muhammad is, as I have shown, easily established from Islamic sources. What this charge does is attempt to divert attention from the real violence committed by jihadists today to a chimera of violence against Muslims in America, and thereby silence criticism of Islam and, in particular, investigations of the sources of Islamic terror in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

But what about when the jihadists themselves quote the same passages to justify their behavior? Surely they aren’t “Islamophobic” too, are they? Of course they aren’t — and if non-Muslims can’t look into Islamic sources to investigate the causes of jihad violence, it plays into their hands: the less Americans know about how they recruit and motivate terrorists, the less we can do about it.

Now, let's be clear about something. I believe that NRO was practicing free speech when they placed the book on their list. I believe, equally, that CAIR has the right to practice their free speech and demand redress from NRO. I believe that NRO did not have to cave to these demands. CAIR, of course, was fronting economic pressure via advertisers, particularly Boeing, to remove their ads from NRO. NRO, being a business, decided that a loss of an advertiser was worse than caving in and removing a book that people could find any place else on the internet.

Fine. That's the stuff that happens when you need to make a living.

I bet you could still find this book in the library, on Amazon, get Barnes & Nobles to order it for you, etc, etc, etc.

Free speech all the way around.

Now, it's my turn to have my free speech. That's the point of this blog, to say whatever I want (within the limits of the law and my family/company's patience of course). Right now, the law says that talking about Islam, Mohammed, the Qu'ran, even in disagreeable ways, is acceptable as long as I do not advocate AND act on directives of violence, discrimination or persecution.

This is where I get to say, I don't beleive that Mohammed was a "Prophet" of God. Oh no! Hate speeeeeeech! I'm a Christian, what do you think I believe?

Secondly, I think Mohammed was largely an opportunistic man, searching for answers and a way to make a living after his wife died and her property was distributed, and he happened to remember all the things he learned and decided (just like Jimmy Swaggert or Jim Baker) that it would be a swell way to make a living. Preach to people, get them to pay for your food and clothing, get a bunch of followers and, presto, you have power.

Does that mean I think Mohammed or Islam is inherently evil and so are it's followers? No. That would be even too far fetched for me. Too many people AREN'T going around beheading people and flying planes into buildings, so I don't see this as "ALL Muslims". I also believe that people have their own faith and that is between them and their God. But, I do believe some people were able to use this religion, Islam, as their front for a fascist, tyrannical ideology and, since that is the vehicle that they used to perpetrate their acts, we should know every aspect of it, from Islamic scholars to anyone else who has an opinion and knows how to write it.

Excluding anyone that actually writes words like, "All Muslims are evil and should be shot on site."

If somebody even tried to give me that book, I'd toss it in the trash and burn it myself.

However much I feel that CAIR has the right to protest a book and make their disagreement known through their right to free speech, I do feel that they are a bunch of WHINEY, HYPOCRITICAL BABIES!

Yes, whiney, hypocritical babies. Oh no! Somebody wrote something uncomplimentary about ISLAM! Boohoo-hoo! It's "hate" speech.

News Flash: it's only hate speech if the book actually advocates committing violence against, discriminating against or out and out killing Muslims because they are Muslims. Please point to the line in this book that specifically advocates doing Islam or Muslims physical harm outside of an opinion that Mohammed was not a prophet, but he was a butchering, raping, thieving leader of a group that happened to unify Arabic nomadic tribes into a loose nation and create the worlds third great religion?

That opinion is not enough to be classified hate speech. It's an opinion and I can quote hadith and sunna that support it. But, I won't because that isn't the purpose of this post and you can read Robert Spencer's article if you are looking for it.

However, I would like to make an arcane reference to a cliche CAIR should be familiar with: People. Glass houses. Throwing Rocks. You know what I'm talking about?

Why am I saying that CAIR is acting like a whiney hypocritical baby? Islam is one of the three major religions in the world, just like Christianity and Judaism. And, just like those religions and many smaller religions, there have been many books written about Christianity and Judaism. Thousands of them and many of them are not complimentary to the religions. There are plenty of books that examine every aspect of Jesus, the founder of Christianity, and have proclaimed him a fake, non-existent, irrelevant, not as pure as the Christian church would have him, a rebel, an inciter to violence, etc, etc, etc.

As a Christian, I don't get overly exercised about them because it is people's right to free speech and they can have their own opinion even if it's not mine. I might argue with them about it, but I certainly wouldn't stop them from writing it as long as it didn't say "hang all the Christians from the highest tree, enslave them, beat them, tax them, discriminate against them" etc, etc, etc.

Which brings up an interesting topic. By CAIR's definition of "hate speech" we would have to ban the Qu'ran from libraries, reading lists, book sellers, etc, for promoting "hate speech" considering that it makes some very unhealthy references to Jews in many sections and definitely insists that Jesus wasn't the son of God nor the Messiah and he didn't die on the cross, etc, etc, etc. And, while making references to the "people of the book" there are definitely Hadith, Sunna and Surah that comment on how to "treat" these people and it sounds a whole lot like discrimination.

Of course, knowing enough about Islam and it's followers, I know not every Muslim agrees with or applies those tenets. I also know the historical period in which the book was written so I don't get all crazy about that either. I do get a little bent out of shape when those same rules are used to oppress or kill people today (whether Muslim, Christian, Jew, man, woman or child). And, this is where I happen to agree with Robert Spencer: those words that I know many Muslims do not take to heart or use in a hateful, discriminating or violent manner, ARE used by a group of people who do and they call themselves "Muslim" even if a huge swath of Muslims deny them that status. Furthermore, these people committed crimes, more than just September 11, 2001, against many people, not just Christians or Jews, but Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc, etc, etc.

How are you to combat such extremism if you don't know what is said, how it's used, what it means? Does it matter that the person that wrote it isn't a Muslim? I'm sure I could point out some Muslims that HAVE written just such words and HAVE commented on Islam's need to review these practices and insure they are not the "normal" practices of Islam. The source doesn't matter. The words matter in context to the current situation: what is Islam and who are Muslims?

It's free speech. You live in America, you like to use that little concept whenever you think someone is trying to shut down your message of a peaceful religion and not discriminating against Muslims. That and the obvious relations of some of your members with extremist (or, "right on the edge") groups and actual spoken and written words from some of your more "prominent" members that excoriate Jews, Christians and other non-believers and advocate violent Jihad on the behalf of whomever against whatever group has pissed them off today, makes CAIR big, fat, whiney ass, hypocritical, babies.

CAIR is basically saying that they can't take the heat from an 80 year old book.

I'm happy they exercised their free speech in protesting the book. Happy they were able to do as all other special interest groups have done in the past; bringing their economic power to bear against a practice they don't agree with.

Again, this is where I get to exercise my free speech and tell CAIR that I believe they are wrong and I completely disagree with them about classifying books that don't agree with them or paint their religion in the hue they desire as "hate speech" without the book or documents actually advocating death, injury, discrimination or other acts against Muslims.

The same way I would never agree to banning or boycotting uncomplimentary books about Christianity, Judaism, etc, etc, or Christians trying to get Harry Potter banned for the superstitious and moronic fear of witchcraft, or the politically correct crowd trying to ban Huckleberry Finn for an historically operative word when the book was written over a hundred years ago.

Normally, I would never say what I am about to say considering I believe that immigrants, past, present and future, are part of what has made this country and keeps it strong and progressing, but, if you want to live in a country that will protect you from having to see or read a book that is uncomplimentary of your religion, might I suggest immigrating to Saudi Arabia or a number of other "Islamic" countries that have actual laws against it? Then you wouldn't have to be offended.

My grandma always said, "Can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen."

No, you say? Not your idea of utopia?

Didn't think so.

In which case, get over it.

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