Tuesday, February 11, 2003

A Defense of Islam

Traditionally, I am a Southern Baptist, therefore Christian; so it seems strange to arrange the words for 'a defense of Islam.' But, it's not quite the way it first reads ' don't stop reading just yet.

Islam, as you know, is a false religion. I can say this because I believe that Christianity is the only true religion. Indirectly, I am also saying that Buddhism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and any other 'paganism' are also false religions.

Muslims, as you know, practice Islam. Like Jews, the religion and the nation are somewhat plays on words. Are Jews from Israel or are they who follow the Torah' Far more confusing is the 'nation' of Islam, but I don't want to deal with that.

A few days before the first attacks on Iraq, I received an email exhorting me to remember the MUSLIMS who bombed Pan Am #103, the World Trade Center in '93, the barracks in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, the embassy in Africa, the USS Cole, and who committed the atrocities of September 11th.

The person who forwarded that to me (forwarded email is so overdone) seemed to not see any problem with this sort of wartime propaganda, but I did.

Consider this: have you ever heard a Pollock joke' Of course you have. Did you know that Pollock is derogatory' People from Poland are Polls, not Pollocks. 'Pollock' is the term Nazis, among others, consumed to help dehumanize their enemy, the Polish people; the jokes around 'Pollocks' did the same thing.

This is a basic tenant of propaganda. Not only does propaganda tell you what to think, it also tells you how think. The Nazis thought that an invasion of Poland was legally justifiable, that is 'what' they thought. But 'how' they thought, which is the most dangerous, is that the Polish people were deserving of invasion, and they propped this opinion on the devaluing of Polish people.

Consider the current climate of French jokes. We have renamed French fries and French toast, poured out French wine, thrown out French cheese and reminded ourselves that is was the United States who saved the French people from speaking German.

This conditioning, which slowing degrades the French people, makes it easier to introduce accusations like: the French have been buying Iraqi black market oil or, the French have been supplying Iraq with nuclear technologies. Regardless of their merit, such claims have a better chance of 'sticking' in our environment of French distain.

And so, let us return to the Muslims, and our defense of Islam.

When Americans are killed, other Americans have natural reactions. We are shocked, frightened and angry. Anger, the most potent of the three, usually drives a shameful response. Add fear and arrogance in the stew and a mess is brewing.

But logic can help us here.

Of the foreign-based terrorist attacks against the United States in recent years most culprits are Muslim. Does this fact have but a single conclusion in it to draw' Of course not, but an uneducated polity typically concludes the following:
  • Therefore, all terrorist are Muslims.
  • Therefore, all Muslims are terrorists.
Of course, minimal research tells us that all terrorists are not Muslims. They are Irish, African, Asian, and American. This logical mistake would equate to: a man is attacking you, hitting you again and again with his left fist ' therefore, all of his fists are left.

Then again, it is not so simple to conclude that all Muslims are not terrorists, and that is the problem at hand. Because the headline attacks are by men who are Muslim, this unreasonable conclusion is propped up on regime of unscrupulous propaganda.

Let us consider Islam and Christianity. Let me first say, Islam and Christianity are not comparable, as one is true faith in God and the other is one in a chorus of false religions. But, the trueness of Islam is not the point I want to make.

If a man throws a brick through a window and then cries out, 'Jerry Nixon rules!' I am embarrassed to be associated with something that I would never do.

Christianity, likewise, has a similar ailment. The Klu Klux Klan (or KKK) considers itself a Bible-based, Jesus-supporting organization. These ambassadors of the Christian faith make other followers of Christ look like a violent, hate-loving group of people.

Consider what black Americans could say: Remember the Christians who beat us' Remember the Christians who lynched us' Remember the Christians who hanged us for crimes we didn't commit' Remember the Christians who enslaved us' Remember the Christians who concluded we were less than human'

So, if we apply poor logic to their situation, blacks could conclude:
  • The KKK is violent and hate-loving.
  • All KKK members are Christians.
  • All Christians are KKK members.
  • All Christians are violent and hate-loving.
Fortunately, the black American community did not use this poor logic to spoil Christianity in America. Instead they looked through the crimes of a few people to see that they did not implicate all the people.

You see, if you are a Christian, odds are the proof against this KKK business is already beginning to form. You would argue that not all KKK members are Christians and not all Christians are KKK members. Shoot, I would do the same.

If you can imagine that kind of argument, you can also see why all terrorists are not Muslims and all Muslims are not terrorists. A correction to the title of this article would be 'A defense of Muslims,' instead of Islam.

Then the old propaganda line appears: According to the Koran, if a Muslim kills Americans, he will get 40 virgins in heaven. Well, I am not about to spend time defending the goodness of Islam, but I will correct this one common chant; Islam teaches peace and the Koran does not teach killing Americans or Christians gives you vestal virgins in the afterlife.

So, where did this come from'

Well, consider how television evangelists pervert Christianity for their own devices. Consider also how nefarious historical leaders have misused the Bible to justify their wars and injustices. They do not represent God; they only twist his words for their own benefit. Using God, their followers would dedicate their life to the success of their leader.

Like that, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and other bad leaders have twisted the Islam faith to recruit followers who are willing to do their bidding and give their lives willingly in the process.

So, what do we do about Muslim-American'

This is the kind of question they asked in World War 2: what do we do about the Japanese-Americans; we can't really know where their loyalties lie' This is hard, and especially muddled because of the grenade attack suspected to be by a Muslim-American infantryman.

Do we round them up for internment camps' Do we 'send them back' like so many whisper' Do we surveil them around the clock'

Thus is the struggle of a free society.

Let's hope we cannot update the slogan:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for the Muslims,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Muslim.

Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

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