Four Thoughts for Islamophobes

Categories: Religion
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It's been a busy few weeks for Muslims, Muslim countries, and Islam in the news. Most of the coverage has not been favorable. Here, then, are four thoughts for readers who find themselves worrying about Muslims this Sunday.

1. Muslims serve in the military too. Last week, the world learned that yet another Qur'an would soon be desecrated by yet another Floridian, and sane people everywhere yawned in unison. Three small and maladjusted demographics, however, felt a dirty little trill of excitement. Local journalists felt it because stories about the desecration of "holy" books damned near write themselves; Islamaphobes felt it because they enjoy offending Muslims' sensibilities; and somewhere, radical Islamists felt it because they'd soon have another opportunity to break things and hurt people.


That the gentleman who intended to do the desecration is mentally unstable gave the story an interesting wrinkle. This was Mark Rowley of Boca, who intends to do his desecration on Memorial Day in Sanborn Park. Perhaps because he lacks the charisma, media savvy, and intriguing facial hair of the Qur'an-burning pastor Terry Jones -- or perhaps because people are more willing to align themselves with the certifiable than with the already-certified --  the comments fields of the stories about Rowley's desecration are filled with a heartening absence of cheerleading anti-Qur'anites. Except, sad to say, at our sister publication the Miami New Times.

So if you're a Rowley cheerleader, consider this: He's shredding a Qur'an on Memorial Day precisely because he thinks Qur'an burning is in some way a tribute to our military. Think again. There are Muslims in our military, and many Muslim-American soldiers have died in our foreign wars. You can meet some of them here. Drop a line, and thank these vets for protecting us while we sleep.

2. The best way to reduce the number of radicalizing Muslims probably isn't to make Muslims afraid to leave their homes. I spoke briefly this week with Nezar Hamze, the much-maligned head of the Miami branch of the even-more-maligned Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He sounded pretty busy, but when he gets around to it, he promises to send me copies of some of the hate mail SoFla's mosques have received following the arrest of people who (may) have been providing material assistance to radical Islamists in Pakistan. Whether they were or weren't, there are plenty of good reasons to their teachings without proclaiming the guilt by association of their congregants. (You can find one such reason here and another here.) There's apparently been a lot of hate mail, some of it threatening, and it's certain to do no good. It will only make certain Muslims nervous -- immigrants in particular, who may have been nervous to begin with -- and therefore less inclined to associate with non-Muslims. Fear begets insularity, insularity begets ignorance, ignorance begets contempt, and insular, ignorant contempt begets radicalism of all kinds. Hate mail: Usually a bad idea.

3. Barack Obama isn't an Israel-hating stooge of the radical Islamists. Listening to certain reactions to Barack Obama's speech on the Middle East, you'd think the president showed up wearing a turban and demanding Netanyahu turn the Knesset into a madrassah. Which wasn't exactly the case.

Ileana Ros Lehtinen said: "I am also disappointed that the president failed to call on the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state."

Except that's exactly what Obama did when he said:

Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.
Did she even watch the speech?

Marco Rubio said: "The president's reference to Israel's 1967 borders marks a step back in the peace process, as the U.S. must not predetermine the outcome of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians."

Which sounds a lot like what Obama said:

Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed on them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away... The borders of Israel should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

Allen West said: "Today's endorsement by President Obama of the creation of a Hamas-led Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders signals the most egregious foreign policy decision his administration has made to date and could be the beginning of the end as we know it for the Jewish state."

West went on, and somebody could do a fine critical exegesis of his statement, but his most salient points are contained in the above sentence. It contains at least two lies. The first, that Obama endorsed the creation of a "Hamas-led Palestinian state," is pure scaremongering. (Obama actually said: "Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection... The recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel. How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question.") The second lie, that Obama has called for Israel's retreat to pre-1967 borders, is obvious to anyone who understands the meaning of the suffix "pre." Obama called for no such thing. As Rubio seems to have understood, Obama called for negotiations to begin using 1967, not pre-1967, borders as a template. These borders could then be altered with "mutually agreed swaps."

Elsewhere in his speech, Obama said things like:

[Palestine's] symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state... As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums.

If those don't sound like the words of an enemy of Israel, it's only because they're not.
 
4. Don't be afraid to pray for Osama Bin Laden.
Henry Borja, a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, last week asked that a mass be said partially for the soul of Osama Bin Laden. In the face of surprising public outcry, Borja has retracted the request. The mass will now be said "for peace."

Really, though, it doesn't freaking matter. If there's a god and if there is such a thing as a soul and if whatever god there might be gives a hot hoot what happens to a human's soul after death, the prayers of the good people of Holy Name of Jesus weren't going to change that god's plans for Osama Bin Laden. Unless the concerned faithful believe in an especially wishy-washy deity, that prayer wasn't going to matter a whit -- save, perhaps, to show the deity that some believers are more magnanimous than others. So much for that.


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38 comments
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Shafeeqah V. Smith
Shafeeqah V. Smith

I'm concerned that President Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue. 

Pierce Hardwood
Pierce Hardwood

There is no such thing as islamophobia! It's a PR campaign thought up by the muslim brotherhood! ISNA, The OIC. and groups like cair! Islamofauxbia is more like it!

Mary
Mary

 Theres no such thing as a moderate muslim either!

SMDrPepper
SMDrPepper

 You obviously do not know any Muslims then cause most of em are.  So should we call all christians extreme due to the KKK or all the other wacko groups out there?

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

A whole segment of the world's population are all the bogeymen the illiteratti need for their hysteria. 

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

Nicely put. I wonder if anyone has considered the practical implications of setting Western Civ against a group comprising over 20% of the world's population. I'm all for proselytizing, Westernizing, and secularizing -- but fighting and fearing 1.5 billion people? The mind boggles.

Pro
Pro

 Fear begets insularity,  insularity begets ignorance, ignorance begets contempt, and insular, ignorant contempt begets radicalism of all kinds. 

Hey Thorpe, you need to listen to your own words. You are a Joke. You write this after you try to trash Allen West by going after his daughter. You quote a facebook page of some kid who turns out was not even Allen West's daughter.

Stay up up Queens N.Y., that's a better and more fitting place for you.

guest
guest

Was there a retraction when it was discovered that it wasn't West's kid's facebook?  If I was her I'd be lawyering up. 

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

I'm in Brooklyn, actually. But Queens is nice. Good Indian food.

I think you're mistaken: It was definitely West's daughter's Facebook page. If you would like to widen that story's Google footprint by discussing it further, be my guest.

Regards, and thanks for reading,- BKT

Carlyo1
Carlyo1

Phew, Pro, talk about hatemongers, that would be you, yes?

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Kings from Queens, from Queens come Kings, we're raising hell like a class until the lunch bell rings.

ALAMODEFENDER
ALAMODEFENDER

i have the same freakin regard for your article as you do for God. oh and here's four more reasons as good as yours...blah,blah,blah and blah haha. 

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

Those are four very good points, and I will consider them at length. Thank you.

- BKT

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

With regard to Obama's recent speech on the Israeli/ Palestinian peace process, unknown to the legions of hysterical "conservatives" is the fact that this has been official U.S. Policy now for over a decade, lasting through the tenure of several Presidents.

In fact, just a few years ago, George W. Bush outlined the same policy and used many of the same words as Obama did the other day.

Despite this fact, people have been going insane and have leveled all kinds of false statements about Obama's words. And if you didn't understand this by now, this past week has proven once again what I have been saying now for years.

The far right if the Republican party is in lockstep with the far right of Israel, and whenever they have the opportunity, American conservatives- many of them evangelicals- will side with this far right element of a foreign nation over the interests of the United States.

Last year, Geberal David Petraeus testified before the U.S. Congress, and stated that Israeli intransigence on the issue of the Palestinians was creating anti- American sentiment and endangering the lives of American troops in the theater of operations.

You would think that someone who loves to brag about his military experience would know this, but that is asking too much of Allen West. So, to sum up, David Petraeus-- along with most of the command structure- wants us to oust Israel politically on the settlement issues and other issues. Yet, the far right in this country ignore this and showtheir allegiance to a movement of like minded extremists from a foreign nation.

So, to quote a former POTUS, you are either with us or against us, and this policy articulated by the Commander-in-Chief is the policy of the U.S. military.

American conservatives - including Allen West- have shown once again that they will side with a foreign nation.

They are against us.

(Sorry for the spelling errors, oust should read "push")

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

It's worth emphasizing that we are talking about politicians who are aligned with the *very* hard right in Israel. The vast majority of Israelis do not believe in a biblical land mandate, or wish to see the Palestinians sent to Jordan, or wish to continue to build new settlements. Rejecting these ideas is as pro-Israel as it gets. A lust for endless religious conflict isn't pro-Israel or pro-anything: It's nihilism.

Thanks for commenting, Virgil...

- BKT

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey don't worry about the spelling,I do it all the time lol go heat.

Guest
Guest

Well said! 

ALAMODEFENDER
ALAMODEFENDER

everyone on the far left are gay atheists,right? stereotyping makes arguing easy,huh? i guess i just have to call you a devil worshipper too,to make things balanced. way to go,virg. 

anonymous
anonymous

Everyone needs to go back to the Chief Judge Vic Tobin post.  This is some serious stuff for Broward County.  Read the posts and when you completely understand the corruption going on at the courthouse, everyone needs to participate in a demonstration and petition to recall the corrupt legal and law enforcement people who are harming our community in the name of pesonal greed.  It is time to take a stand! 

SMDrPepper
SMDrPepper

Okay thats enough, your not allowed to make any sense when it concerns Islam.  You are SUPPOSED to be riling up the populace into a fear lathered attack dog.Damn, I thought everyone got that memo. 

StonedCEO
StonedCEO

Hey, just because the Imam at the mosque in Margate was the SPIRITUAL LEADER and TEACHER, it's no reason to believe anyone else their shared his beliefs.  Wait,what? 

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

No -- it's a fine reason to believe that some others may have shared their beliefs. But in the absence of evidence to the cntrary, it's not wise to assume that *all* of their congregants shared their beliefs.

Thanks for reading.- BKT

Bigmo
Bigmo

 Neocon article.

Jewishmarksman
Jewishmarksman

I am still amazed how the New Times, with a large gay readership in South Florida, is deafeningly silent on Islamic homophobia. I guess the staff's hatred of Jews and Israel blinds them to the real issue their readers should be aware of. I guess it is ok to hate and kill gays (all over the islamic world) as long as you primarily hate and kill Jews. Insanity.

Oh by the way, we know muslims serve in our military, ever heard of Nidal Hasan, you schmuck?

Brandon K. Thorp
Brandon K. Thorp

You know, it's possible to object to something -- Islam, radical Islam, veganism, Nancy Grace, pick your annoyance -- without thinking that *all* criticisms of that thing are equally valid.

Not incidentally, I have criticized Islam before, and recently, and in New Times. If you're interested, please Google "The Qur'an Is Not a Book of Peace" and "Mosque Seems Nice" +"New Times" for two such stories.

Thanks for reading,- BKT

nanook5
nanook5

 the new times is deafenly silent on islamic homophobia because there are no floridian muslims issuing death threats to gays on a regular basis, unlike the christian right and its relationship with muslims and to a lesser extent gays.

islamic extremists primarily hate and kill other muslims (just like israelis, what a conundrum!), but no one is apologizing for the murder of anyone of any ethnicity.

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey sb go fuck yourself with your bullshit comment go play marsh ion and jerk off ah

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

For those that haven't met "Shooting Blanks", aka Jewish Marksman, I have read enough of his posts over at the Juice to help you understand him better. He is a classic far right extremist who thinks that if you have a different opinion as to how Israel could achieve peace, you must hate Jews and defend radical islamists. And if you hold this opinion as a Jew, you are self-hating.

He thinks he speaks for all Jews, and he does not.

In fact, people like him give Jews a bad name.

Chaz Stevens
Chaz Stevens

Brandon;

If Rowley wanted to pay tribute to the military and West at the same time, he could have:

1)  Taken an innocent civilian prisoner2)  Tossed the prisoner to the ground and then discharged his .45 round near the prisoner's head3)  Kept that prisoner in lockup for months on end and as an added bonus, practiced enhanced interrogation techniques on his captive

And then, in the end, Rowley could have released that prisoner  -- slapped him on the ass and sent him along his way with a hearty "oops sorry, my bad."

Hellvis
Hellvis

 It seems that most people that dont like West have never been in the military. Who gives a shit what he did to get info. Do you think the other side plays by the rules? Why should we be the only ones.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Who gives a shit what he did?  Apparently the US Army does.  They charged him with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, relieved him of duty, and fined him $5,000.

PS - Iraq didn't do shit to us to deserve our invading their country and slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians. We are arguably the ones who don't play by the rules.

Hellvis
Hellvis

Do you think the opposing force plays by the same rules? Do actually think they follow the Geneva connvention?

unowho
unowho

What no pissin on him or throwing urine bottles on him?Right only females sorry!!! 

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

Ahhh   the libeling just continues....   You know Gary, for a guy that doesn't pay child support, you are quick to make up lies.

unowho
unowho

Timmy LOL Thats the best you can do?You are a criminal trying to be an activist and you put down Bob Norman who gave you opportunities to change your reputation  as a low life women abuser? Not to mention a drug abuser....Needless to say you are not wanted here,as you already know and admitted.....You see activists have to be good people not evil vindictive scum  who get there jollys from attacking the good guys who have put themselves in harms way to make the  world a better and safer place ......

Hellvis
Hellvis

no wonder Bob kicked you off, you know if you sell you two cars and boat you might be able to get your own place, or are you just waiting on the parents to die so you can take over their home?

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