Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Playing 'Victim;' Living in a Big World

I'm not a Muslim, but I am part of a religious minority: and have reason to be glad that America isn't as WASPish as it was when I was growing up. I'm acutely aware that some folks hate what they think I stand for: but I also realize that what affects my fellow-believers may not be directed at us. I've been over that in another blog:Yeah: I'm one of those people. Moving on.

"Why's Everybody Always Pickin' on Me"

As part of a memorable '50s song's lyrics, "why's everybody always pickin' on me" was quite effective.

As a position taken by folks in a minority group? I don't think it's the most prudent choice. For starters, I think America has gotten over the 'everybody's a victim' intellectual fad. And that's almost another topic.

Here's what set me off today:
"Muslim journalist defends surveillance by NYPD, says some Muslims 'use religion as cover'"
Catherine Herridge, FoxNews.com (March 13, 2012)

"The New York Police Department has faced criticism for its surveillance of the Muslim community, but one prominent Muslim journalist defended the department in an interview with Fox News.

" 'We use religion as a cover, said Asra Nomani, a 46-year-old journalist whose work has been published by the Wall Street Journal and The Daily Beast. Nomani, a native of India, says radical ideology is very real -- and damaging to all Muslims...."

"Radical Ideology"

I can almost understand why some of Saudi Arabia's ruling family feel the way they do. What's a little harder to understand is other Muslims going along with acting as if Islam was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the House of Saud.

Back to that article.
"...Nomani showed Fox News a Koran from a mosque in West Virginia. She says the Koran's Saudi publisher added negative language about Jews and Christians. This interpretation of Islam, Nomani says, is part of a larger problem.

" 'I think that there is a movement in America right now to claim this concept of Islamophobia, to say that people are hating on Islam,' she said. 'Let's be honest, there are people that do hate on Islam. But I think that (Police Commissioner) Ray Kelly and the New York Police Department have been targeted in this larger campaign to try to show that people are picking on Muslims.'..."

"...Nomani said the Muslim community should take charge: 'I think we would be better served by being more proactive rather than defensive.'..."
Then there was the time a Saudi prince lectured New Yorkers, saying that the 9/11 attacks were America's fault.1 I've posted about that before. (November 2, 2007)

Bottom line? 'With friends like these, Islam doesn't need enemies.' My opinion.

How Would I Feel?

"...The New York Police Department's controversial surveillance program involved efforts to infiltrate mosques and Muslim communities on college campuses to gather intelligence on potential threat. News of the secret program has sparked strong reactions, both negative and positive....
How would I feel, if police were infiltrating churches and Catholic communities on college campuses? I probably wouldn't like it. But I'd also see it as a wonderful opportunity for evangelization.2 There's nothing quite like a captive audience.

I'd also be concerned about a legitimate investigation turning into something closer to a 'witch hunt.'

But I might think that investigations - even 'infiltration' - might be justified, if this very hypothetical situation were real:
"...Let's say that Scandinavian Lutherans had, for decades, been blowing up airplanes, buses, and themselves in what they called a Ragnarokathon. Learned scholars explained that the Scandinavian Lutherans were doing this because western culture didn't appreciate lutefisk and lefse...."
(August 1, 2007)
Sure, Catholics aren't Lutherans: but I might realize that a full-bore secular government might not know that. And there would always be the possibility that a rogue Catholic or two might have decided to go crazy over lefse.

If 'Ragnarokathon' was real, I'd probably prefer that the Catholic Church cooperate with secular authorities. That would be the fastest, and most effective, way to deal with a major threat. And yes, I know about the pedophile priests.

Why Should I Defend Muslims?

I'm not, quite, 'defending' Muslims. But I do think that many - probably most - Muslims would prefer living in the 21st century. Particularly when an alternative is to cosy up with crazies. Let's remember that Islamic terrorists have a distressing habit of killing Muslims for wearing the 'wrong' clothes, or saying the 'wrong' thing.

Besides, I've read Niemöller's poem.

"Sophisticated Understanding," and Death Threats

My hat's off to Asra Nomani. Folks who make sense sometimes pay a high price.
"...As for the Attorney General Eric Holder's confirmation last week to lawmakers that his department is reviewing complaints about the NYPD's surveillance, Nomani was unequivocal: If you draw the line, make it clear that the terrorists are on one side and everyone else is on the other.

" 'I think that Ray Kelly has a sophisticated understanding of what the problem is, that it's a reality,' she said. 'And I would tell him to just keep going for it, you know, and really help us clean up our mosques and our communities.'

"Nomani also has faced a personal cost for her activism, which was profiled in a PBS documentary called 'The Mosque in Morgantown.'

" 'I've had death threats, she told Fox News. I'm not going to be voted most popular at the local mosque. But I think that those are the calculations you have to make when you want to make a difference.' "

Living in a Big World

I think what's driving many Islamic terrorists is what they see as vast, alien, world that threatens their way of life. In a way, they've got a point.

I've gotten the impression that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and others, are upset because their culture had stayed pretty much the same, since back when Abram moved out of Ur. (October 8, 2007) Then, in a generation or two, they got "...dragged across thousands of years of change, from a culture of burqas and honor killings to a world of bikinis, Budweiser and dog food commercials." (October 21, 2010)

I don't think we live in the best of all possible worlds: but I'm about as sure as I can be that the answer isn't a violent - and futile - effort to go back to 'the good old days.' And that's another topic, for another blog.

Related posts:
In the news:
1 Background, excerpt from the news (2001):
"Giuliani rejects $10 million from Saudi prince"
CNN.com (October 12, 2001)

"Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Thursday the city would not accept a $10 million donation for disaster relief from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after the prince suggested U.S. policies in the Middle East contributed to the September 11 attacks.

" 'I entirely reject that statement,' Giuliani said. 'There is no moral equivalent for this [terrorist] act. There is no justification for it. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered 4,000 or 5,000 innocent people.'

"Prince Alwaleed gave the mayor a check after a Thursday morning memorial service at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center towers destroyed in the attacks.

"The prince offered his condolences to the people of New York, but after the ceremony he released a statement suggesting the United States 'must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack.'

" 'The check has not been deposited. The Twin Towers Fund has not accepted it,' Giuliani said in a statement late Thursday.

"The prince's statement said the United States 'should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause....

" '...our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek,' the statement said.

"Giuliani flatly rejected the prince's position. 'To suggest that there's a justification for [the terrorist attacks] only invites this happening in the future,' he said. 'It is highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous.

" 'And one of the reasons I think this happened is because people were engaged in moral equivalency in not understanding the difference between liberal democracies like the United States, like Israel, and terrorist states and those who condone terrorism....' "
2 As a Christian, a Catholic, I have a "...desire to proclaim him, to "evangelize," and to lead others to the 'yes' of faith in Jesus Christ...." And a desire and need to know this faith better, myself. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 429) Which doesn't mean that I want to force you to agree with me. The Catholic Church supports religious freedom tholics must support religious freedom. (Catechism, 2104-2109) For everybody. (Catechism, 2106) If that's not what you've read, I'm not surprised: and that's another topic.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.