Saturday, September 16, 2006

When the Bully Asks for an Apology

This is absolutely ridiculous.

If we draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, we must apologize, lest our embassies get burned to the ground. Never mind that freedom of expression, Western-style, is one of our cherished values.

If we’re the pope, and quote a Byzantine emperor’s comments from over 600 years ago, comments that offend the sensibilities of people who dance in the streets when planes are flown into skyscrapers, comments that insult people who scream out “Death to America!” and “Death to the Jews”, comments that do no actual harm to people who wish to do us harm, we must apologize for it.

Don’t offend the Muslims, we’re told, or else they’ll do something to us. And we’re increasingly being told this not only by Muslims themselves.

Thank you, New York Times.

Never mind that these comments were meant to show “the incompatibility of violence with the nature of God”, because they angered people who scream out “Allah-u-Akbar” (God is Great) before blowing themselves up on a bus full of innocent people…Pope Benedict XVI is at fault. Not militant Islam.

Wait, you didn’t happen to hear that after the Pope made his speech with Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus’s opinion of Muhammad in 1391 (Benedict even said “and I quote” to emphasize these were not his words), five churches in the Gaza Strip were attacked – with the attackers emphasizing that their firebombs were thrown in protest of what the Pope said?

Chew on that: Even as Muslims demand the Pope apologize for indirectly – indirectly – equating the actions of many Muslims with violence, Muslims throw bombs at churches in Gaza and damage the doors of churches in Iraq.

And we’re told the Pope must apologize!

“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

That’s what Pope Benedict XVI quoted, from a discussion between a 14th century Byzantine emperor and a Persian Muslim of his time. The quote wasn’t Benedict’s – it was someone else’s.

And now, I quote, the New York Times:

“The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.”

Hmm, yeah, words can hurt.

“With the establishment of the State of Israel, the entire Muslim nation was lost because Israel is a cancer that spread in the body of the Islamic nation; because the Jews are a virus similar to AIDS, from which the entire world is suffering.” – Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris, Palestinian Authority (official) TV sermon, on May 13, 2005

“The Talmud says that if a Jew does not drink every year the blood of a non-Jewish man, he will be damned for eternity.” – Marouf al-Dawalibi, Saudi Arabia’s delegate to a United Nations Human Rights Commission, on December 5, 1984

“Here are the Jews today taking revenge for their grandfathers and ancestors, the sons of apes and pigs. Here are the extremist Jews demanding their rights. Some extremists even demand their rights in Medina....This is the extremist tendency of Jews. They are extremists and terrorists who deserve death, while we deserve life, since we have a just cause.”Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris Gaza Palestine Satellite TV (another official Palestinian Authority station), on March 12, 2004

“Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury.” - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, on October 27, 2005 at the “World Without Zionism” conference

Look at these quotes, now:

Libya’s Religious Affairs office said that the “…insult pushes us back to the era of crusades against Muslims led by Western political and religious leaders.”

Pope Benedict XVI “will go down in history in the same category as leaders like Hitler and Mussolini.”

That wasn’t a quote from a Saudi newspaper or Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. That was from a newspaper in predominantly Muslim, predominantly secular Turkey. I’d like to talk to the editors of that newspaper about what the Turks did to the Armenians after the First World War, but then…Turkey’s still officially in denial that it had leaders who should have gone down in the same category as Hitler. After all, Hitler argued that no one will care about what happens to the Jews because “who today speaks of the Armenians?”

All we hear is that we must apologize to Muslims.

We must apologize for supporting Israel. We must apologize for defending ourselves. We must apologize for exercising our right to freedom of expression. We must apologize when we say something Muslims don’t like. We must apologize for being Jews, or Christians, and not Muslims.

Wait, are we dhimmis already?

Where is the official Muslim apology for the tens of thousands of anti-Semitic cartoons which have appeared in the Arab-Muslim press since the mid-20th century? Where is the Muslim apology for labeling Jews like myself “the sons of apes and pigs,” and where is the apology for comments such as “the Jews are a virus similar to AIDS” ? Where is the official Muslim apology for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993?

Where is the official Muslim apology for the burning down of European embassies in Syria during the whole Cartoon Muhammad debacle? Where is the Muslim apology for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hateful rhetoric, denying the Holocaust and declaring that another country should be destroyed just because it deigns to exist?

Where is the official Arab apology for the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, who was killed by Sirhan Sirhan – a Palestinian (who was at times Christian, at other times a Muslim)?

Where is the Muslim apology for the kidnappings and beheadings in Iraq of foreign aid workers?

Where is the official Muslim apology for 9/11? where is the official Muslim - official Palestinian - apology for Palestinians dancing in the streets of the West Bank after the Twin Towers fell?

Where is the official Muslim apology for, by the sword and under duress, making two Fox News journalists convert to Islam after they’d been kidnapped?

You won’t hear any such apologies, because according to a great number of Muslims, we’re the only ones at fault. I’ve actually gotten an apology from a Muslim before on exactly this sort of issue, in response to one of my previous blog entries, but usually instead of apologies you have apologists for Islamic violence. Not all Muslims are violent – but it is the case that even the more moderate Muslims are sometimes loathe to admit that it is not only the Qu’ran which exhorts Muslims to violence, but their clergy as well.

I don’t care what the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt says. I don’t care what some imam in Saudi Arabia says, or what some newspaper in Turkey says, or what the Religious Affairs office in Libya (that paragon of human rights) says. Pope Benedict XVI has nothing to apologize for. If we must apologize for speaking freely, and for doing so to urge people to not justify the use of violence with religion, well…what has the world come to?

We're facing a situation equivalent to one where we're the nerdy-looking kid getting beat up on the playground (I know what this is like) and the bully hitting us wants us to apologize for his having freely chosen to use violence against us. And the sad thing is, people are saying...well, maybe we should be sorry. We're suffering from Stockholm Syndrome on a global scale, and if you can't tell by now who is holding us hostage, well...I don't know what to say, aside from that it’s enough to make one wonder why we should fight at all officially, when, unofficially, we’ve already given in.

“We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, and don't get me wrong here, I have the highest respect for Islam, and learned a lot of very good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do, because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on.” – Steve Centanni, Fox News journalist, August 27, 2006

1 comment:

Montie said...

Well put Jeremy. The "Doublethink" is upon us. I am also reminded of the fairy tale about the emperor's new clothes...Yes they are all naked and nobody wants to say so. I took the time and effort to read Pope Benedict's speech...terribly academic but good and substantive. It is all about reason and its place at the table...well, what a concept. Logos, not something that is part of the extreme Islamic rhetoric or belief system. It is frightening to see how the groupthink is working on this one. Just think about it, the extreme Islamic "street" counters the observation that perhaps God does not require or desire his followers to kill and coherse conversion in His Name by killing the unconverted and creating violence around the world. Well, there goes that old argument about reason. Defies rationatlity.

Oh well, good blog. You said it all very well.