6. Start reciprocating religious tolerance
There is no more religiously tolerant country in history than the contemporary United States, although you’d never know this from the constant wailing refrain of “Islamophobia!” from Islamists and their leftist sympathizers. The notion of a tsunami of Muslim-hatred washing over the nation is a shameful PC myth, as a November “hate crimes” report reveals. Muslim-Americans enjoy as much, if not more, religious freedom here as anyone else.
By stark contrast, no Bibles, churches, temples or synagogues are allowed on the Arabian peninsula, the home of Islam. Non-Muslims are not even allowed in Mecca. Under Islamic rule elsewhere, no new non-Muslim houses of worship are allowed to be built, and existing ones may not be repaired.
Then there is the violent persecution of non-Muslims. My friend Mark Durie, the brilliant scholar of Islam, notes in his The Third Choice that
The human rights situation of Christians in many Muslim countries has been getting steadily worse over the past half-century. This deterioration has been directly linked to the worldwide Islamic revival and reinstatement of sharia law.
A report last month at the Hudson New York think tank states that
Christians in Arab countries are no longer being persecuted; they are now being slaughtered and driven out of their homes and lands.
Muslims want us to respect Islam? End the persecution of non-Muslims, reciprocate religious tolerance, and abolish the death penalty for “apostasy.” Then we’ll talk.
5. Update your penal code from “medieval.”
While our own legal system has a far-from-perfect record of dispensing justice, and punishment can be harsh (that’s why it’s called “punishment”), sharia is the very definition of draconian. This “cruel and usual punishment,” as Ms. Darwish calls it, includes lashings for drinking alcohol, amputations for thievery, beheadings for more serious crimes, being hanged or thrown from a roof for homosexuality, and – the real gem in sharia’s crown – the stoning of adulterers.
This last method of execution requires that the stones used be neither too small to do serious damage nor large enough to cause a quick death. So it’s clear that the ordeal is intended to be as excruciating and prolonged as possible.
Say what you will about our own electric chairs and firing squads, which we’ve largely abandoned in our search for the most humane method of execution (itself reserved for only the most heinous of crimes); sharia’s punishments are characterized by barbarism. News flash: barbarity doesn’t generate respect.
4. Let the whole cartoon thing go.
Speaking of barbarity…
This would seem to be a no-brainer, but apparently it bears explaining: “taking offense” is not a license for frenzied rioting, murder and mayhem. The most notable example is the worldwide rage over a set of cartoons published years ago in a Danish newspaper, which no one outside of that tiny country would have seen if not for the cartoons’ shrewd distribution by Islamists themselves eager to unite the ummah, the worldwide Muslim community, against the blasphemous West. That murderous outrage is ongoing: Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was recently set upon in his home by a Muslim attacker seeking vengeance.
Similar, more recent examples include the threats to kill the South Park creators for their tame, satirical, animated take on that same hypersensitive hysteria, and the death fatwa issued against cartoonist Molly Norris, who has since “gone ghost” in fear for her life. Not to mention the death threats, explicit or implied, over innumerable other things that offend many Muslims.
Apologists like to point out that many Muslims take disrespect toward Islam, Allah, and his prophet very seriously, and they suggest we tiptoe respectfully around that religious sensibility. I would like to point out that such apologists are cowards, appeasers, and religious hypocrites, and remind them that violent lunacy is not deserving of respect. And this segues into suggestion number three…
3. Stop trying to curtail our free speech and to criminalize Islamophobia.
From the Salman Rushdie affair to Molly Norris’ sad vanishing, the list of Islamist assaults on our precious freedom of speech is far too long to do justice to here. And the West has too often responded not with firm resistance, but by preemptively censoring itself: witness Random House rescinding its offer to publish The Jewel of Medina, a novel that an academic warned might outrage Muslims, or the Yale University Press publishing a book about the Danish cartoons that will not include the cartoons themselves.
Islamists know that the key to winning the war of ideas against the West is to keep hammering away at our freedom of speech – our right and our ability to critique and denounce a totalitarian ideology that is hell-bent on bringing the West under its heel. Criminalizing blasphemy, defamation of religion, “Islamophobia” and the like will put us at a mortal disadvantage. Indeed, the world’s largest Islamic assembly, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, has made the criminalization of religious defamation, specifically “Islamophobia,” its number one priority – and Obama has sent a sympathetic envoy to that party to help them achieve it.
To earn our respect and the beginning of trust, you must embrace, not threaten, our freedoms and our values.
2. Stop letting the Muslim Brotherhood speak for you.
For decades now, the Muslim Brotherhood has shrewdly worked to establish its subversive presence in America through a complex network of front groups and “legacy groups” which includes virtually every recognized Muslim organization in this country. Over time these groups – most notably the ubiquitous CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations – have gradually muscled their way into position as the representative voice of all Muslim-Americans.
Maddeningly, our government, law enforcement, and media have taken the bait and embraced these groups unquestioningly – blindly engaging an enemy that seeks the “elimination of Western civilization,” as an internal Brotherhood document proclaims. Such Islamist groups completely control this country’s dialogue with our Muslim citizens.
Americans have been asking since 9/11/01:
Where are the moderate Muslims? Why have they not risen up en masse to show that they stand with us against the extremists?
For Muslims to earn the respect of the West, those moderates in America and around the world must prove first that they exist – by uniting, organizing, promoting themselves not only to the media and government but to the public, and fearlessly confronting the deeply-rooted network of Brotherhood groups. They must speak out forcefully in unqualified solidarity with the West against their co-religionists’ terrorism and stealth agenda.
1. Start taking responsibility for your own destiny instead of blaming the West
In contrast to Western notions of self-reliance and free will, the Arab world suffers from what Hugh Fitzgerald calls an “Islam-inculcated inshallah-fatalism” characterized by the habitual mantra “Inshallah,” or “If God wills it,” used in reference to virtually every action. As Fitzgerald writes,
Why try very hard when, in the end, every fiber in your individual or collective being tells you that, in the end, it’s all up to Allah, and he will intervene, quite inexplicably and suddenly, whenever he wants?
This is fatal to cultural, technological, scientific, economic, and spiritual development. Without the culturally ingrained confidence that human beings can, through their own decisions and choices, impact the external world and to a large extent steer their own destinies, a people is doomed to stagnation, jealousy, and parasitism, and tends to look outside themselves to affix blame.
To earn the West’s respect, such Muslims must stop shrugging “inshallah” about all things great and small, stop laying the blame for their conditions on conspiracy theories of Western imperialism and thievery, and actively take responsibility for a better future and a peaceful, shared destiny with the West.
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