Monday, September 12, 2005

A Religion Of Peace And Tolerance

Paula R. Stern laments that as Israel pulls out of Gaza, the first thing the onrushing Palestinians do is destroy the synagogues:

Today, as I knew they would, crazed Palestinian mobs are desecrating 25 synagogues in Gaza, setting them on fire and destroying what it took years to build. I have visited almost all of these synagogues, prayed in many of them. I cannot even begin to put into words the pain I feel today, the anger, and the sadness.

The world, as I expected, is silent. The UN's Kofi Annan was asked to protect the remaining synagogues, but we hear nothing. Empty buildings, they will protest quietly, and what did you expect? Unspoken is the silent message that while the Christian world and the Jewish world would respect places of worship, the Moslem world cannot be held to the same level of accountability. Did you expect any different? No, I did not, though it would be a mistake to assume that knowing they would destroy these holy places in any way lessens the pain.

We can't say that we expected no better, of course, because that would be deemed racist and wrong. It would be insulting to the honorable religion of Islam, even though it is the truth. It would imply that their values are different than ours, even though they are. It would suggest that their culture is one that lacks respect for other religions, one deeply embedded in violence and one that cannot tolerate and respect the beliefs of others. We can't say all that, and so the lie will live on, the destruction go unpunished, the truth left unsaid.

*** UPDATE ***

Farhan Memon of alt.muslim asks, "Do Muslims in America lack the conviction of their religion to condemn sacrilege when it is committed by Muslims against others?" No, is the quite obvious answer to me. A Muslim lawyer held a demonstration against terror here in DC a few months ago and could only get fifty people to show up. That's one third of the number of Muslims arrested on terrorism-related charges in America. He said that the local imams would not support his demonstration because they agreed with the terrorist goal of a worldwide Sharia state, if not their methods. But I digress.

Memon comments:

"Imagine if Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip destroyed two dozen mosques. There would be mass rallies in front of Israeli embassies around the world, and in America organizations like CAIR and MPAC would issue righteous condemnations calling on the American government to restrain Israel. However, as we've seen today, when Palestinians streaming into liberated Gaza set fire to synagogues there is deafening silence from most Muslims and certainly from the leadership of the American Muslim community.

Herein lies the sorry state of Islamic affairs. Muslims like to brag that when the Caliph Umar ibn Khatab entered the City of Jerusalem, he exhibited respect for Jews and Christians by refusing to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, because he was afraid that Muslims would take it over. Indeed, to this day, a Muslim family is entrusted with the key to the church. In contrast, this Islamic spirit has ceased to exist 1,400 years later. The Palestinian authority is incapable (or unwilling) to provide security for the abandoned synagogues, the Palestinian people lack the adhab to refrain from destroying a temple dedicated to the worship of Allah, and Muslims in America are indifferent to this destruction because it is occurring to Jewish property.
The wholesale destruction of the Jewish synagogues is yet another indication that Palestinians of all stripes, whether Fatah secularists or Islamic Hamas types, do not have the political maturity to construct a civil society. However, it is also a sign that Muslims in America lack the conviction of their religion to condemn sacrilege when it is committed by Muslims against others."
I disagree with Memon that American Muslims in particular or Muslims in general are demonstrating a lack of conviction in Islam by ignoring the synagogue-razing in Gaza, but are rather are demonstrating the Muslim dedication to expediency in their religion, which is to say, anything that advances Islam is good. Muslims see Palestinians burning and bulldozing synagogues in former Israeli territory as good, a victory for Islam.

Sure, there is some token talk of respecting some other religions, the people of the Book, ie Christians and Jews, but that is trumped by anything that advances Islam. The precedent was set by Mohammed and documented in the Koran. When Mohammed fled to Medina in 622 AD with his followers, the new Muslims raided the caravans of their enemies, the Quraysh. Once the Muslim robbers attacked a caravan outside of Mecca during their holy month of Rajab, when fighting was forbidden. At first, Mohammed was so incensed by the transgression that he refused to take his share of the loot.

However, he later had a revelation from Allah that explained that the Quraysh resistance to Mohammed was a worse transgression than violating the holy month. Therefore, the raid was justified. From that point forward, anything that advanced the Muslims became good, no matter what laws, religious traditions, or moral boundaries it violated. The core principle of Islam is expediency. It is a primitive morality born of solitary desert nomads living in the margins of liveable habitat who must grab any advantage that presents itself to survive. It is not a morality conducive to civilization, which prizes cooperation and tolerance.

That's why Muslims are silent about the razed synagogues and the train bombings and skyjackings and school massacres and beheadings and snuff videos. While they may frown at the methods, it all advances Islam. It is expedient.


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