Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mark Steyn's America Alone, V--Part Two (Chapters 4 through 6), Cont'd.

A continuation of my comments from June 10.

More stuff in Mark Steyn's America Alone that shocks and bothers me.

Let me write up some of his stuff about "moderate Islam."

I'll start with the continuation of Miss Farooq's story (the young Canadian Muslim woman who hates Canada).
Miss Farooq's father is a pharmacist who fills prescriptions at a military base in Wainwright, Alberta, and says he supports the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry on their mission in Afghanistan. After the terror cell was cracked, Mohammed Umer Farooq told the press that his daughter's views--hating Canada, in favor of shipping homosexuals to Saudi Arabia to be executed or crushed, etc.--were new to him, but that she's always been "more religious" than he is. He described her as "100 percent religious" and himself as "30 percent religious."

Nada Farooq is typical of a significant minority of young Muslims raised in the West by "moderate Muslim" parents. . . . Unlike her parents, Nada Farooq has no natural Pakistani identity and she rejects her thin, reedy multicultural Canadian identity, choosing instead a pan-Islamic consciousness that trnscnds nationality. . . . Growing up in a Toronto suburb, she found recent Chechen history more inspiring than Canadian history, assuming she was taught any.

How many Nada Farooqs are there? On the first anniversary of the July 7, 2005, Tube bombings, the Times of London commissioned a poll of British Muslims. Among the findings:
  • 16 percent say that while the attacks may have been wrong, the cause was right.
  • 13 percent think that the four men who carried out the bombings should be regarded as "martyrs."
  • 7 percent agree that suicide attacks on civilians in the United Kingdom can be justified in some circumstances, rising to 16 percent for a military target. [Compare those numbers to the May 23 report from the Pew Research Center about American Muslims! --JAH]
  • 2 percent would be proud if a family member decided to join al Qaeda. 16 percent would be "indifferent."
If this is a war, then that is a substantial fifth column. There are, officially, one million Muslims in London, half of them under twenty-five. If 7 percent think suicide attacks on civilians are justified, that's 70,000 potential supporters in Britain's capital city. Most of them will never bomb a bus or even provide shelter or a bank account to someone who does. But some of them will. As September 11 demonstrated, you only have to find nineteen stout-hearted men, and from a talent pool of 70,000 that's not bad odds.

--America Alone, 75-76

Oh, let's keep going.
[A]ccording to one poll, over 60 percent of British Muslims want to live under sharia in the United Kingdom. Another poll places the percentage favoring "hard-line" sharia at a mere 40 percent. So there's one definition of a "moderate Muslim": he's a Muslim who wants stoning for adultery to be introduced in Liverpool, but he's a "moderate" because he can't be bothered flying a plane into a skyscraper to get it. . . .

If there were a "moderate Muslim" lobby--one that, say, believed that suicide bombing is always wrong, even against Israelis, or that supported the liberation of Iraq on the grounds that the Iraqi people are in favor of it--your average Western government would immediately be suspicious that such a group was not "authentically" Muslim. Whereas, if you oppose the occupation of Iraq and seek to justify the depravity of Hamas, you have instant credibility. And so government ministers in Western nations spend most of their time taking advice on the jihad from men who agree with its aims. You can pluck out news items at random: in London, a religious "hate crimes" law that makes honest discussion of Islam even more difficult; in Ottawa, a government report that recommends legalizing polygamy; in Seattle, the introduction of gender-separate Muslim-only swimming sessions in municipal pools. . . .

--America Alone, 76-78

Okay. Here's one for one of my pacifist friends. She wrote,
Yes, the Quran directs Muslims to use the sword against unbelievers. But most of them aren't getting out there and doing it. People everywhere are pretty much more willing to live comfortable peaceful lives raising their families, holding down stable jobs, looking after matters of education, and generally being normal than they are interested in engaging in warfare of any kind. And the vast majority of Muslims in the world are living normal lives and neglecting warfare. Even though their holy book commands it.
I think Steyn replies pretty well here:
The "moderate Muslim" is not entirely fictional. But it would be more accurate to call them quiescent Muslims. In the 1930s, there were plenty of "moderate Germans," and a fat lot of good they did us or them. . . .

We know, because Western politicians and religious leaders tell us so incessantly, that the "vast majority" of Muslims do not support terrorism. Yet how vast is the minority that does? One percent? Ten percent?

Here are a couple of examples that suggest it might be rather more.

Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar, a sociology professor at Mount Royal College in Calgary, went along to a funeral at the city's largest mosque and was discombobulated when the man who led the prayers--in Urdu--said, "Oh, God, protect us from the infidels, who pollute us with their vile ways."

Dr. Kanwar said, "How dare you attack my country," and pointed out to the crowd that he'd known this mean for thirty years, most of which time he'd been living on welfare and thus the food on his table came courtesy of the taxes of the hardworking infidels.

As Licia Corbella wrote in the Calgary Sun: "Guess which of the two men is no longer welcome at the Sarcee Trail mosque?"

Final score: Radical Islam 1, Moderate Muslims 0.

Here's another example: Souleiman Ghali was born in Palestine and, as he put it, raised to hate "Shiites, Christians--and especially Jews." After emigrating to America, he found himself rethinking these old prejudices and in 1993 helped found a mosque in San Francisco. As Mr. Ghali's website states: "Our vision is the emergence of an American Muslim identity founded on compassion, respect, dignity, and love."

That's hard work, especially given the supply of imams.

In 2002, Mr. Ghali fired an imam who urged California Muslims to follow the sterling example of Palestinian suicide bombers. Safwat Morsy is Egyptian and speaks barely any English, but he knew enough to sue Mr. Ghali's mosque for wrongful dismissal and was awarded $400,000.

So far, so typical. But the part of the story that matters is that the firebrand imams had a popular following, and Mr. Morsy's firing was the final straw. Mr. Ghali was forced off the board and out of any role in the mosque he founded. And, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Safwat Morsy--a man who thinks American Muslims should be waddling around in Semtex belts--is doing a roaring trade: "His mosque is looking to buy a building to accommodate the capacity crowds coming these days for Friday prayers."

That's Radical Islam 2, Moderate Muslims 0. . . .

At this point it's time to throw in another round of "of courses": of course most Western Muslims aren't terrorists and of course most have no desire to be terrorists. One gathers anecdotally that they're secure enough in their Muslim identity to dismiss the fire-breathing imam down the street as a kind of vulgar novelty act for the kids--in the same way that middle-class suburban white parents sigh and roll their eyes when Junior comes home with "Slap Up My B*tch" or "I'm Gonna Shoot That Cop Right After I F--- His Ho" or whatever the latest popular vocal ditty is. But, aside from the few brave but marginalized men like Mr. Ghali, one can't help noticing that the most prominent "moderate Muslims" would seem to be more accurately designated as apostate or ex-Muslims.

The pseudonymous apostate Ibn Warraq makes an important distinction: there are moderate Muslims, but no moderate Islam. Millions of Muslims just want to get on with their lives, and there are--or were--remote corners of the world where, far from Mecca, Muslim practices reached accommodation with local customs. But all of the official schools of Islamic jurisprudence commend sharia and violent jihad. So a "moderate Muslim" can find no formal authority to support his moderation. And to be a "moderate Muslim" publicly means standing up to the leaders of your community. . . .

And even if you're truly a "moderate" Muslim, why should you be expected to take on the most powerful men in Islam when the West's media and political class merely pander to them? What kind of support does the culture give to those who speak out against the Islamists? The Iranians declared a fatwa on Salman Rushdie and he had to go into hiding for more than a decade while his government and others continued fawning on the regime that issued the death sentence. The Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh spoke out and was murdered, and the poseur dissenters of Hollywood were too busy congratulating themselves on their courage and bravery in standing up to Bush even to mention their poor dead colleague in the weepy Oscar montage of the year's deceased.

To speak out against the Islamists means to live in hiding and under armed security in the heart of the so-called "free world." Meanwhile, Yale offers a place on its campus to a former ambassador-at-large for the murderous Taliban regime.

--America Alone, 86-88

Well. I've spent way too many hours typing up all these quotes. I get the feeling I'm not actually catching too many people's attention by engaging in this work.

I'll stop here.


No. No I can't stop there.

One more. This cuts a bit too close to home.
Whatever the arguments for and against "gay marriage," there are never going to be many takers for it. But the justifications for same-sex marriage are already being used to advance the cause of polygamy, and there are far more takers for that. It's already practiced de facto if not de jure in France, Ontario, and many other Western jurisdictions, and government agencies, such as the United Kingdom's pensions ministry, have already begun according polygamy piecemeal legal recognition for the purposes of inheritance law.

Neither feminists nor homosexuals seem obvious allies for Islam, but lobby groups have effortlessly mastered the lingo, techniques, and pseudo-grievances of both. . . .

As someone who's called Islamophobic and homophobic every day of the week, I can't help marveling at the speed and skill with which Muslim lobby groups have mastered the language of victimhood so adroitly used by the gay lobby. If I were the latter, I'd be a little miffed at these Ahmed-come-latelys. "Homophobia" was always abroad: people who are antipathetic to gays are not afraid of them in any real sense. The invention of a phony-baloney "phobia" was a way of casting opposition to the gay political agenda as a kind of mental illness. . . .

On the other hand, "Islamophobia" is not phony or even psychological but very literal--if you're a Dutch member of parliament or British novelist or Danish cartoonist in hiding under threat of death or a French schoolgirl in certain suburbs getting jeered at as an infidel *****, your Islamophobia is highly justified. But Islam's appropriation of the gay lobby's forming of the debate is very artful. It's the most explicit example of how Islam uses politically correct self-indulgent victimology as a cover.

You'll recall that most Western media outlets declined to publish those Danish cartoons showing the Prophet Mohammed. [By the way: I have looked at them. They are mild. If you haven't seen them yet, you can find them here. The commentary that goes along with them, I think, is illuminating.--JAH] Thus, even as they were piously warning of a rise in bogus "Islamophobia"--i.e., entirely justified concerns over Islamic terrorism and related issues--they were themselves suffering from genuine Islamophobia--i.e., a very real fear that, if they published those cartoons, an angry mob would storm their offices. It was a fine example of how the progressive mind's invented psychoses leave it without any words to describe real dangers.

--America Alone, 84-85

May we not be left without any words to describe real dangers!

Really, truly, ultimately: aren't we talking about freedom of speech . . . or a lack thereof?
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