Saturday, July 08, 2006

The truth about Islam, and me...


I usually post a few entries a day, but given the solemnity of July 7th, the anniversary of the attack on London, I thought to focus my comments on what I believe is the most important issue of our time.

In reading the comments on yesterday's post I was appalled by the sympathy that has been expressed for Islam, a faith that, if applied to the letter, would call for all of us non-Muslims to be cast off the face of the earth. And yes, all religions are absolutist in their claims to sovereignty, but as one person wisely commented, Christians aren't boarding buses and planes to blow themselves up. Further, I made it very clear that fundamentalism in this country is a problem all its own that must also be dealt with. But seriously, people, if you're more scared of Christians than Muslims please pass me that crack you're smoking. It sounds real good.

What troubles me about the debate over Islam, over the debate on Iraq or any conflict for that matter, is that otherwise normal, compassionate people (I would like to include myself in that group) are forced to take sides and make absolute statements for the advancement of a particular ideal. I expressed my disappointment in the Islamic faith as I see so-called followers of God not only killing "infidels," but each other. The Shiites in Iraq are no better than the Somali fighters who opened fire on a group of young people watching the World Cup this past week. As current events clearly show, whatever vestige of temperance exists in the Islamic faith has yet to manifest itself. I expressed my sadness over this yesterday as I am a student of international affairs and despise sweeping generalizations -- however, I personally feel as if I have no choice but to feel the way I do about Islam.

Someone who commented on my post alluded to the caption under my photo that reads that I am fed up with the hateful rhetoric from the right as if to say that I am no better for my own "hateful" take on Islam. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Ladies and gentlemen, I grew up a Christian and hold the ideals of my faith close to my heart but have seen first hand how cold and uncaring one's brothers and sisters in the faith can be when you start to differ from them. In the midst of our country's culture war Americans are indeed turning on each other and that, too, saddens me. Believe me, the minute Christian fundamentalists start assailing gays with bullets I will be the first to blog about it, unless I'm at the front lines of battle myself.

It's been asked if I know anything about Islam, if I know any Muslims, and the answers to both questions is yes. Would you believe that I grew up in a six family brownstone in Brooklyn with three other Muslim families? They're lovely people, but I absolutely believe that no one in their Mosque is calling for fair treatment of gays, women and non-muslims. To use the right's rhetoric, an institution should be judged by its ideals and not the actions of its individuals -- so what ARE Islam's ideals? World events, people, look at world events for the answer.

Having lived in France I've also seen how Arabic immigrants are at a gross disadvantage when it comes to education and access to employment. However, would these people's situation be any better in the countries they left? They obviously moved to France for a reason. So why, then, would disgruntled youths decide to torch their own neighborhoods? How is THAT the fault of the French government? Youths were setting the elderly on fire, and somehow we have to look at "societal pressures" instead of calling this behavior criminal and fanatical?

As for the comment that Andrew Sullivan should be ashamed for linking to my blog I can only say that it certainly made my day that someone of his stature would direct readers to this site. I am not an expert on world events but rather an observer -- the intention behind this blog is to engage in dialogue with others and to entertain different points of view.

At any rate, this debate predates all of us and sadly, it looks like it will linger long after we're gone. If you're so irate, no matter what side you're on, do make it a point to make our legislative process, our democracy, work for you. Make your voice heard by the people in power to actually effect change and hope for the best.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I liked your first post better. I don't agree with it but it was how you honestly felt (although I think you problem is with the people who follow religion in a fundamentalist way).

But one thing really disturbs me - How can you say your former neighbors are so "wonderful" when they are attending services in a Mosque that, according to you, preaches hate? Make up your mind. This "he's not like the rest of them" attitude is what stalls forward movement.

Anonymous said...

Discovered your site thru andrewsullivan. Amazing the dissonance you suffer between your claims of compassion and your bigotry:

"And yes, all religions are absolutist in their claims to sovereignty, but as one person wisely commented, Christians aren't boarding buses and planes to blow themselves up"
...yup, Muslims are messed up and some of them are fanatically violent, but what percentage is blowing themselves up?...how many have done so in Bangladesh, Turkey or Dubai? Get some perspective bro.

"the Islamic faith as I see so-called followers of God not only killing "infidels," but each other"
...yup, so too did Christians and Christianity for many centuries...and again, all one billion muslims today are killing "infadels" and each other? yup, blood daily on the streets of marrakesh, istanbul and kuala lumpur.

"I absolutely believe that no one in their Mosque is calling for fair treatment of gays, women and non-muslims."
...just like so many churches in america today...

"However, would these people's situation be any better in the countries they left?"
...economically, you're correct. but in the countries they left, they were not the victims of racism itself...and how is that difference from the cyles of racial violence involving blacks on the uk, or, once upon a time, in the u.s.? guess you're too young to have a historical perspective

"We have been forced to make a decision, we have been summed up in an involuntary war and we're all complicit in its future...choices must be made."
...from your blog, one can deduce that your choice is lets kill all muslims everywhere and thereby solve our problems?

The state of Islam today is messed up, and when mixed up with geo-politics and the failure of prior utopian ideologies, is indeed a very dangerous cocktail. You're ignorance, simplification of a very complicated multi-dimensional challenge, absence of historical perspective and bigotry only make that cocktail more toxic for the world to deal with.

Save your claims re "compassion" for a more gullible audience.

Anonymous said...

Oh, one more... "Would you believe that I grew up in a six family brownstone in Brooklyn with three other Muslim families?"
...you sound like the caricature anti-semite who always protested that one of his best friends was Jewish. Just so you know, there are tens of thousands of Americans born to Parents who are Muslim who rarely if ever set foot in a Mosque, drink the odd but of wine, sometimes sleep around, are passionate about democracy and free speach, support gay marriage rights and are avowed capitalists.
I am one of them, and me, like tens of thousands like me are not remotely a reflection of your categorical sweeping thesis that "Muslims living in the West don't harbor a nostalgic or romantic connection to their faith and homeland while living in a foreign land; they're pissed that their new neighbors don't share their beliefs."
Andrew Sullivan should feel shame that he linked to your pathetic collection of ignorant diatribes.

BATSRUS said...

To anonymous poster directly above:

You best be careful, you are going to shock the Gay Conservative Liberal with your "sympathy" for Islam. What, are you some kind of apologist for murderers? How can you sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

Everything else in the piece aside (much of which I frankly disagree with, as a gay muslim), the fundamental flaw with your argument is that it is designed to marginilize the target of its argument and not engage with it. I'm not talking about engaging with the most media-salient aspects of Islam (terrorism, violence against women & gays, etc.) but how Islam is actually lived and experienced by the vast majority of its adherents. I propose this point not because I believe Islam is perfect (far from it) but because in doing so you might find that Islam, like everyt other belief system, is subjured to so many other interactions and variables in life and not accurately defined as a "religion of hate" or a "religion of intolerance" as so many outside the faith so readily subscribe. Within this type of framework, individuals like myself, who often search desperately for progressive allies within and outside the faith, are not engaged by your view of Islam, but rather antagonized by it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Batsrus above: This not about "sympathy" with Islam, christianity or any other religion for that matter. This is about the absence of sympathy for categorical ignorant sweeping statements that, if followed to their ultimate logic, prescribe a policy position that is as fanatical as those of Muslim ideologues today.

Anonymous said...

You state your worldly experiences living in France and cite Muslim immigrant riots as further proof that Muslims are violent. As worldly as you claim to be, you must then surely know that the wealthiest neighborhoods in London (far from the breading grounds of fundamentalist ghettos in places like Leeds) are heavily populated by wealthy Muslims. Funny how we in London don't see street riots in Kensington or Knightsbridge (unless you're referring to opening day of the Harrods summer sale).

Jean Lafitte said...

At one point GCL described himself as an observer of international affairs, not an expert. I take this to mean he doesn't personally research the situation in Baghdad or Amman, but bases his thoughts mainly on what is reported in the media. So what are your critizing him for? If you go by what we see in the media, his conclusions are quite reasonable, for what we see there is horrific.

You say most muslims are moderate and peaceful. Fine, but where are they? Why aren't they loudly protesting what's being done in their name? Where are the protesters carrying banners saying, The Jihadis Are Wrong? Why aren't prominent moderate muslims standing up to denounce the extremists? Could it be because they fear the extremists would consider them apostates, worthy of death? And so they keep quiet, or merely publish blog comments under the name "anonymous"???

GayConservativeLiberal said...

Finally, someone gets it. Thanks Jean Lafitte.

Red Tulips said...

GREAT BLOG! I am going to permalink you to my blog.

I am an atheistic fag hag Jewish American, who seems to believe in much of what you believe.

In short, YOU ROCK!

Red Tulips said...

OH, and one more thing!

You have to check out the following blog about what it's like to be a gay Muslim. This is written by a man who is an out gay man in Beirut. Invaluable resource.

http://gaymiddleeast.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Why aren't they loudly protesting what's being done in their name? Where are the protesters carrying banners saying, The Jihadis Are Wrong? Why aren't prominent moderate muslims standing up to denounce the extremists?

....ah yes, the chorus of "prove yourself"....aka guilty till proven innocent by the self-righteous jury of Muslim bigots. No matter what Muslims, from the King of Jordan to mainstream (not radical) Canadian muslim organizations say or do, its never enough...they need to protest in the streets 24 hours a day with screaming signs that say "Muslims are bad" until the jury says, ok, you're not guilty, your innocent.

There is a lot of hypocrisy among Muslims, particularly on Darfur and the destruction brought by Muslim today upon Muslim. No doubt. But the hypocrisy is no less, in its underlying logic, than U.S. foreign policy is on democracy, human rights and WMD. There is little monopoly on hypocrisy.

Why aren't peaceful Muslims protesting what they say to each other in private? Because to protest is to say yes world, the "America" is right, and "we are wrong" when it comes Iraq or Israel. The radical Islamists have played this one beautifully...thet have the world by the balls...and we're playing right into their game.

Anonymous said...

to miss r...
have you ever been to Beirut? have you ever experienced the nightlife there?
I quote the blogger you reference:
"UV is a fantastic, accepting, cool, beautiful place. Now Fridays are probably going to be spent as Acid, which is pretentious, trashy, and ugly, with rhythmless, g-stringed ladies dancing on the podiums and terribly aggressive bouncers who look like they could sprout horns at any moment. Acid, by the way, has been letting people in for free before midnight the last few weeks to drum up business for its lagging Friday nights. That means free booze on Acid's dime. At least the music is good."
...go see it for yourself, and then come back and blog.

...and as for the references on that blog you cite re all the ignorance and statements about gays in the middle east....just look at the websites of some fundamentalist christians and churches in america...but I guess since Muslims are evil of the day, lets hide whats said in America under the wrong and jump on the muslim-bashing bandwagen...after all, we all need an enemy

Red Tulips said...

Anon 11:33 am:

I am not sure what you are driving at. Beirut is one of the few places in the Muslim world that is (relatively) accepting of homosexuality, but even still, it's illegal to be gay, and there are frequent gay bashings as well as utter hatred on TV re: gays. (chronicled on that blog)

I am the first to recognize the problems in America and inherent with Christianity re: attitudes towards gays (and have publicly and openly decried it), but you cannot compare the way gays are treated in the Muslim world to the way they are treated in the West, generally. It is no contest.

At worst, the Christian right wants to treat gays like second class citizens, and take away all protections under the law. (which is awful, I admit)

In contrast, gays are publicly hung or "honor killed" by relatives (with full acceptance of honor killings by the enforcing governments) for the crime of being gay in the Middle East.

Gay Palestinians flee to Israel, to live under house arrest or live in exile, under cover - rather than be honor killed.

The hatred and brutality the Muslim world exhibits towards Muslims is on a different level than what is seen in the US/the West.

Anonymous said...

miss r,
you're naive. the only reason fundamentalist christians are advocating hanging of gays is because they can't get away with it. christians had to kill millions of christians before the equilibrium of accepted civility was shifted. Arguably, and I don't have the data, but an anecdotal survey of history over the last 500 years might suggest that many more christians killed christians than Muslims are killing Muslims today.
The Muslim world is F*cked up. But it is only after a brutal history has the enlightened west, which you so self-righteously cite, become civilized by today's standards.

This is not a pattern unique to Islam.

Red Tulips said...

We are not living in the world of 500 years ago. You would have a point if we were, but in fact the year is 2006, not 1006 of even 1566.

Christianity had a reformation. Islam did not. That is just a fact. Christians today is NOT calling for the beheading of gays. Muslims are.

And yes, for the record, there are places in Africa where Christians CAN get away with beheading gays. In fact, it would be quite socially acceptable for them to do so. They are not the ones calling for gay beheadings, though, and the only religion that has large swaths of people calling for such a thing is Islam.

Anonymous said...

"the only religion that has large swaths of people calling for such a thing is Islam"
...just how many Muslims are calling for beheadings? Please cite the statistics and reference the source of the statistics.
Be specific, and remember, you are citing just how many peope = "large swaths", what percentage of Muslims are these "large swaths", where they are located...and further remember that the statistics I'm looking for are the large swaths that have specifically calling for gay be-headings, in what form this call is being made, and what exactly is the wording (or wordings) underlying this call.

Red Tulips said...

If by "large swaths" you refer to government actions supported by locals, then just go look to Somalia or Iran.

After gays were slaughtered, there was no local outrage of it. Just complete acceptance and support of the governments doing it.

Oh, and the Pew Research Center has a recent poll of Islam support for terror.

http://pewresearch.org/obdeck/?ObDeckID=26

Anonymous said...

"If by "large swaths" you refer to government actions supported by locals, then just go look to Somalia or Iran."

Actually, it was YOU who made reference to "large swaths", and you specifically stated that in the context of the people of the religion...well the people of that religion exist from morocco eastward thru to malaysia and china...so why just somalia and iran...you made a statement, back it up...prove that in every muslim country "large swaths" are specifically advocating beheadings.

And re iran and somalia, you equate the absence of public outrage on what happen to gays as equating the entire society "advocating" beheadings. Uh, sorry miss r, but these are authoritarian, if not totalitarian regimes... since when is there public outrage tolerated over anything except what the state wants?

naive ignorant people like you are dangerous

Anonymous said...

"(CNN) -- Four U.S. soldiers in Iraq are charged with participation in the "rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and three members of her family," the U.S. military said Sunday.

A fifth soldier is accused of dereliction of duty for failing to report the offenses.

.....Prosecutors have said Green shot and killed an Iraqi man, woman and child before raping a young female from the same family and killing her.

A Justice Department affidavit says Green and other soldiers planned to rape a young woman who lived near the checkpoint they manned in Mahmoudiya.

The affidavit says three soldiers allegedly accompanied Green into the house, and another soldier was told to monitor the radio while the assault took place.

The affidavit says Green shot the woman's relatives, including a girl of about 5; raped the young woman; then fatally shot her.

Soldiers are quoted in the affidavit as telling investigators that Green and his companions then set the family's house afire, threw an AK-47 rifle used in the killings into a canal and burned their bloodstained clothing"

....Ah, but only Muslims are bad, so surely these acts on the part of Americans can somehow be justified or explained by stress under duress or something the Muslims themselves must have provoked?

By-the-way, God Bless America for its justice system and free press, which still strive for truth when bigots on blogs like this perpetuate anything but.

Red Tulips said...

See the poll I linked to (Pew Global - not known to be a biased source) - showing how large percentages of Muslims believe terror is acceptable, and in some countries, this is a majority of Muslims.

I should add that Ahmedinajad has public support. So - he beheads gay people, and that does not take away public support. Kind of shows you the thinking.

I am not aware of public opinion polls per se, but at minimum, I see not a single protest by Muslims - except in Lebanon - demanding gay rights and gay equality.

It's sad and sick and just as the Germans during Nazi Germany were responsible for their inaction, so are Muslims responsible for their inaction in taking a stand against terror and bigotry.

Red Tulips said...

Anon 2:38 pm:

I never said Americans are perfect. I never said "only Muslims are bad."

I said that the brutality of Islamists and the corresponding complicity of Muslims to this brutality (by their silence) is on a scale that is not seen in the West.

Of course there are bad Americans, because no nation is perfect, and no group of people are perfect.

But here is the difference between America/the west and the Muslim world. The soldiers in question will be tried and possibly convicted for their actions. In the Muslim world, nothing at all would be done to those who rape/murder a woman. In fact, four male witnesses are needed to prove a rape even happened.

In short, the gulf of level of brutality is an ocean wide.

Red Tulips said...

BTW: The Guardian shows that Ahmedinajda has a 70% approval rating.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,1801867,00.html

Anonymous said...

Lady, you STILL have not proven your statement. You make a statement, you need to live by it. Where is the PRECISE FACTUAL basis of you very precise statement you made about "large swaths" of the people of Islam specifically "CALLING FOR" beheadings of gays?

And if Ahmedinajad has support, is that solely or mostly on the basis that he advocated beheading of gays, and no other issue? Prove that. Oh, and btw, in Iran they hang them, not behead them. Get your facts straight.


"I see not a single protest by Muslims - except in Lebanon - demanding gay rights and gay equality."
Again, what naivete and ignorance...miss r, most Muslim countries other than Lebanon are dictatorships...you wont see many protests against anything they state does not want. Oh, and btw, the USA has over the years supported and deepened many of these very dictatorships or authoritarian regimes, and the very brutality by which they perpetuate power.

Red Tulips said...

Is there a single Muslim nation that is even tolerant towards gay people, other than Lebanon (where they are barely tolerant)?

No.

I think that is proof in and of itself.

As far as public opinion polls, I am sure they are out there, but I basically have judged the Muslim world by their actions.

Go to http://gaymiddleeast.com/ and tell me that Islam is not PARTICULARLY intolerant towards gays.

kittynboi said...

First, commenting on the post itself;

Christians aren't boarding buses and planes to blow themselves up.

Not a LOT of them, but it does happen in various ways, although they're not as in to the suicide part. But in the third, there's plenty of violence from christians. Some areas of India occasionally have to put up with rampaging christians attacking people and destroying statues and the like. Christian violence isn't as widespread as Muslim violence, since it got a lot of it out of it's system in the past, but arguably its more common in America than Muslim based violence. I mean, we had 9/11 and the bombing in 1993, the first WTC one, but Muslims in the U.S. generally aren't violent, probably because they know the current climate will be VERY unforgiving to any overt public radicalism like they express in other parts of the world.

I can't imagine a Muslim holding the kind of signs at a protest that the muslims in Europe held during the danish cartoon controversy in America.


But seriously, people, if you're more scared of Christians than Muslims please pass me that crack you're smoking. It sounds real good.

Well, the muslims have ZERO chance of getting sharia passed in the U.S. They have a better chance of outbreeding european liberalism, but any kind of similar attempts in the U.S. would result in them being made second class citizens, or third class. Is that good or bad? I'm honestly not sure. I don't want anyone to be made a second class citizen, but when extremist muslims, the KKK, and similar hatemongers are forced to be silent about their views, I can't say it bothers me too much.


Now, for you Anonymous;

...economically, you're correct. but in the countries they left, they were not the victims of racism itself...

The thing is, some Muslims in Europe ARE calling for shariah laws, at least for Muslim communities, and the "right" to do all the things coming with that, and express their distaste for gays, secularism, and other things they get cranky over. There ARE some who like the idea of muslim theocracy. So why do they live in a non-muslim theocracy when there are plenty out there to choose from?


...from your blog, one can deduce that your choice is lets kill all muslims everywhere and thereby solve our problems?

Well, you complain of him making generalizations about Muslims, yet he never actually said we should kill all muslims.

While the author of this blog offers no clear solution to the problems involved with Islam and the middle east, you aren't offering any either. I'll ask you directly; what do you think should be done? Forego any discussion of historical perspective, racism, history, etc. etc. I'm less interested in the REASON behind the solution, and more interested in whether or not you even have any idea yourself how to address the situation.

I have no idea how to do it, except perhaps a worldwide ban on all religions.

Accuse the blog author of not being compassionate all you want. Fortunately, I make no claims of having compassion, and as such, have no ill feelings of being told I have no compassion for Muslims, because I don't have any.

Islam is a religion. By it's very nature it is anti gay, as are all religions or spiritual systems.

It's a religion, and I hate all religions.

So I hate Islam.

Red Tulips said...

kittynboi:

Agreed with you except for one bit.

There are pockets of gay sections in the US where there MAY be calls for Sharia law in the future - such as Dearborn, Michigan, and parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

But we'll see.

Anonymous said...

"Is there a single Muslim nation that is even tolerant towards gay people, other than Lebanon (where they are barely tolerant)?

No.

I think that is proof in and of itself."

So by your stretch of logic, miss r, every society that is not tolerant toward gays is therefore a society where "large swaths" of those people call for the beheading of gays?

Either you agree with the above statement, which is your logic, or back to the basics: prove your statement that "large swaths" of the people of Islam are expressly calling for the beheading of gays.

Anonymous said...

"some Muslims in Europe ARE calling for shariah laws, at least for Muslim communities, and the "right" to do all the things coming with that, and express their distaste for gays, secularism, and other things they get cranky over. There ARE some who like the idea of muslim theocracy. So why do they live in a non-muslim theocracy when there are plenty out there to choose from?"

Amen. I agree with you. I'd be the first to donate $10,000 to charter an B-777 and ship anyone from this country who can't buy into basic national consensus values.

Thats not my argument. My argument is against sweeping (false) generalizations that contribute nothing to debate but exposure of underlying bigotry.

Anonymous said...

"So I hate Islam."

But do you hate Muslims? And if so, where, exactly, do you draw the boundry of your definition of Muslim?

Anonymous said...

"...from your blog, one can deduce that your choice is lets kill all muslims everywhere and thereby solve our problems?

Well, you complain of him making generalizations about Muslims, yet he never actually said we should kill all muslims."

No, i did not state that he made such a statement. I stated that such conclusion could be a logical deduction of his sweeping one-size-fits-all simplistic observations of Muslims and Islam.

There is a clear distinction there.

Steven said...

I have a couple of quotes from the Quran here, they speak for themselves:

1) "Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: 'Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel]."

Note: So on religious terms alone, Islam supports Israel.


2) "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."

Note: This one is also in the Hamas charter.


I have shared thse with several people and they are authentic - though there is different wording in different Quarans:

*****

--- Quote ---
Please note that the version of 17:104 being quoted in your link is but one version: "And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.'" [Qur'an 17:104]


Please read carefully below, from the University of Virginia online Koran:

http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/ot2www-koran?specfile=/lv2/english/relig/koran/www/koran.o2w&act=surround&offset=460282&tag=Koran.017&query=17:104
17.104: "And We said to the Israelites after him: Dwell in the land: and when the promise of the next life shall come to pass, we will bring you both together in judgment."


Not only has the Qur~anic Verse been modified from the earlier, the resulting statement is completely OPPOSITE from the earlier quoted message. Still another version can be found at:
http://www.islamicity.com/Mosque/QURAN/17.htm

17-104: "And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land (of promise)": but when the second of the warnings came to pass, We gathered you together in a mingled crowd"


Directly above, the main difference from the 1st version is the modification of the wording: "Promised Land". Who but God (Allah) could be the PROMISER and who, other then the Jews of Moses, could be the beneficiary of the PROMISED LAND? This compelling point likely began the process of revising (reversing) the wording.

I personally do not believe that God promised any land to any Jews. But in this discussion, what I personally may or may not believe is irrelevant.
--- End Quote ---

If there are any religious academics here please can you respond to these quotes.

To me, they sound like:
"Gather up the Jews - then kill them."

Steven said...

- And that would explain another motive of why the Arabs have 5 times attempted genocide against Israel - and keep trying. Even today the MB in Egypt are proposing a referendum on the peace treaty with Israel.

As Nasser of Egypt once said: "we only have to win once".

Best wishes.

GayConservativeLiberal said...

Miss R, thanks for sparking more debate on this blog...and the recos on Mid East gay blogs is great. Am enjoying some of these..great resource.

Anonymous said...

"I'll ask you directly; what do you think should be done?...I'm less interested in the REASON behind the solution, and more interested in whether or not you even have any idea yourself how to address the situation."

Fine, I'll ignore the essay, and come straight to the conclusions, in no particular rank order of importance:

- progressively over the next 5 years, put a significant tax on gasoline...we still pay some of the lowest prices for gas in the world, and friedman is right, in the process we are funding both sides of the war on terror; if we're truly at "war" then the american population can bare the collective sacrifice; use the proceeds for massive R&D that would progressively reduce and then mitigate our dependence on middle east oil and trash the price of oil globally

- then, walk away from our steadfast support of saudi arabia; we've supported that pathetic royal family dictatorship far too long; let the chips fall where they may (btw, we invaded the wrong country..we should have invaded saudi, not iraq, but thats another essay)

- pull out of iraq; we're spending how much ($1 billion a week? not sure)...let the iraqi's kill each other and find their own equilbrium...it took the lebanese 17 years...its the iraqis' problem, not ours, but they will solve it...and instead...

- re-allocate the funds and military to afghanistan and tracking down the ideologues...we messed up iraq, but can't find Osama...and we're the world's most powerful nation...how screwed up is that? the fanatics of al queda (and the like) can not be reasoned with...they must be eliminated

- use the rest of the money for domestic intelligence and, particularly, intelligence in europe...europe is a disaster waiting to happen, but domestic intelligence agencies in europe and the u.s. are woefully underequiped and tooled for the last war...we fire american gays from the military for being gay, but who happen to be arabic speakers, which we desparately need...how messed up is that?

- we can kill the ideologues, but only Muslims can turn against their message and their interpretation of Islam...we can't conclude this war without winning over the muslims themselves, and this battle will be between us and the ideologues...we need to suck it up, and blunt the message that resonates in recruiting...solve palestine (its solvable), chechnia, kashmir...ignoring the petulant means of the purported victims, each of these are sore open wounds grounded in historical fact..plus perception is reality...to bury our head in the sand is to lose

- unwind the tangle of mutual hyprocrisy...stop supporting rabid dictators throughout the muslim world and press for true free speach, followed by progressive democracy institutions can be created and deepened (not "instant" democracy as in the recipe of Iraq)...force this on the dictators...tell the mute torn center of the muslim world that we are behind lifting their oppression...but, with one condition, they keep their norms, whatever the evolve to be, for themselves

- massive funding of state educational systems to replace the madrasas in pakistan

- solve darfur, dont just talk about it...intervene...lets show some backbone and demonstrate we are for whats right

- repatriation of any muslim in the western world who can't live by the constitution and laws of the land, and who wont work within that framework to advocate their right of free speech in what they think societal norms should be

- kick out all the foreign imams from mosques in canada, u.s. and europe...massive funding at harvard for home grown ones (yes, the same harvard that receives money from bin laden's relatives)...naive to think that religion will ever go away...in america, it keeps making a comeback, so lets deal with it

- showcase positive role models among muslims...they are everywhere, in sport, music, arts, business...spin, p.r., madison avenue...but let the role model muslims do the spinning (and yes, for you ignorant out there, there are many role model ones)

Maybe its not the right set of solutions, and maybe some need to be emphasized over others. But it will have to be a multi-prong approach. No easy solutions, and, from a historical perspective, all threats to human civilization have, over the centuries, passed. This one will too...and then be replaced by another.

So yes, I have thought about it.

Anonymous said...

- And that would explain another motive of why the Arabs have 5 times attempted genocide against Israel - and keep trying. Even today the MB in Egypt are proposing a referendum on the peace treaty with Israel.

can you balance your quotes from the koran with some of the more rabid texts from christian scripture?

Oh, and poor israel. russians with blond hair show up on the shores of middle eastern palestine with the support of the western world as compensation for the holocaust, demand that the land be israel because god "promissed" it to the jews, and still today, successive israeli PM's cite scripture for their claim to the land.

Palestinians are their own worst enemy. But the historical perversion of justice that is israel versus palestine stands...and scripture on the jewish side is as culpable.

GayConservativeLiberal said...

Anonymous, I think you're on to something. Believe it or not I agree with all your points and your priorities, chief among them:

-- Darfur
-- gas tax
-- Afghanistan

I don't think we should pull out of Iraq, though. We're 2,500+ men into this and it would be a disservice to their sacrifice to say "ok, nevermind, this is y'alls problem." The money being spent there is ridiculous and if we're going to hang Bush by the balls for bringing us there, Kerry and Clinton need to be hung right with him.

Red Tulips said...

Wow, I am pretty much in agreement on most issues with Conservative Liberal!!

I would like to add that I do not believe it is up to US to "solve Palestine," so to speak. I also do not think there will be peace in our lifetime - as I wrote on my blog.

http://cultureforall.blogspot.com/2006/07/is-peace-possible.html

kittynboi said...

Anonymous;

Yes, all of your solutions and ideas are good. I think that our main goal should be alternative energy, reduce oil usage but still keep the good things in life like video games and comic books and other things, but reduce oil usage so we have no REASON to engage the middle east, then just pull out of it and leave it be.

Some muslim fanatics hate that we supposedly desecrate their holy land. If it were up to me and it were feasible, I would pull all U.S. presence out of the middle east.

Once their oil runs out or it is replaced with some other source of power, the middle east will cease to have much practical importance in world affairs anyway.

Anonymous said...

"but still keep the good things in life like video games and comic books"

i'm with you bud

Jean Lafitte said...

Some people think that I am blaming the victim when I say something like:

"Where are the protesters carrying banners saying, The Jihadis Are Wrong?"

I don't think so. We're talking about violent Islamist killers, and these are the people who did commit 9/11, and who are killing innocents in Iraq today.

These people claim to be the voice of all true Islam, and they are committing terrible crimes. If the people they claim to speak and act for do not say, no, we're the moderate muslims, and thereby distance themselves from the extremists, why is it unreasonable for us to fail to distinguish between them? If we can justly accuse the extremists of terrible crimes, why don't those who put no distance between themselves and the killers share the culpability?

It's not blaming the victim to ask the accomplice of a killer to defend himself. He may succeed in convincing us that he was not an accomplice, but an innocent bystander, and if so that's fine. But it's reasonable to insist that he prove it, and not just ask us to assume it.

Steven said...

I agree with most of that, but not all:

This is what I do not agree with.
"But the historical perversion of justice that is israel versus palestine stands...and scripture on the jewish side is as culpable."

Steven said...

Jean: "These people claim to be the voice of all true Islam, and they are committing terrible crimes. If the people they claim to speak and act for do not say, no, we're the moderate muslims, and thereby distance themselves from the extremists, why is it unreasonable for us to fail to distinguish between them? If we can justly accuse the extremists of terrible crimes, why don't those who put no distance between themselves and the killers share the culpability?"

Thank you for that, it is very well written and I may quote you in the future. :)

Anonymous said...

"It's not blaming the victim to ask the accomplice of a killer to defend himself. He may succeed in convincing us that he was not an accomplice, but an innocent bystander, and if so that's fine. But it's reasonable to insist that he prove it, and not just ask us to assume it. "

...the ultimate conclusion of your logic is that, if the basic policy perscription is kill the fanatics, then so too must all the moderates be killed if they don't wear banners, give up their jobs and stand 24/7 in the streets shouting "not me, not me". So have the courage of your conviction to extend the argument to your logical conclusion...lets kill all one billion muslims. for you to shy away from the only logical conclusion to your essay is cowardice.

Anonymous said...

btw,
aside from your amazing legal precept of immediate guilt by association, did you critical mind ever cause you to ask WHY the moderates aren't speaking up...or you just assume their all guilty anyway, and thus why bother?

an excerpt from the Canadian Muslim Associations press release upon the toronto arrests was pasted on to this blog, as one excample of what muslims ARE doing (and there are plenty more, but those blinded by their pre-determined conclusions are too lazy to look for it). not one comment by the chorus of self-righteous chorus of "prove yourselves"...or is it that what you are really after is a renunciation of their faith?...at least be honest about that.

Red Tulips said...

I view the situation as akin to Nazi Germany.

There were individuals such as Oskar Schindler, and other "righteous gentiles" who took action to stop the Nazis - just as there are some instances of Muslims working against Islamofacism, today. However, there was no mass movement to prevent Nazism and the Holocaust. Most Germans just sat idly by and allowed a genocide to occur, while doing NOTHING to stop it - just as moderate Muslims sit back and do nothing to stop what Islamofacists are doing in their name. Those Germans were complicit in the Holocaust, by allowing it to happen.

The moderate Muslims who sit back and allow Islamists to hijack their religion are just like the Germans who sat back and allowed the Nazis to hijack the German nation.