web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Islamists Deface Their Glorious Heritage

When I was in fourth grade I was bullied mercilessly by a boy in class. It got so bad that I once took him to the school gift shop to buy him a present to appease him and get him to stop. When I look back thirty years later at that incident, I am filled primarily not with anger toward the boy but with shame for my own actions. I cannot believe that I allowed the bullying to take place, that I cowered in fear before a disturbed kid who used intimidation to feel powerful.

I believe that the world in general, and Europe in particular, will also look back one day at their feebleness in the face of global Islamic bullying and be ashamed of their own cowardice.

For make no mistake about it, Islam, once the world’s greatest civilization, is fast becoming a global bully.

What the riots that were provoked by the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and the torching of European consulates, embassies, and missions all over the Middle East have done is give the lie to that old roasted chestnut that Islamic fundamentalism is fueled by Western incitement.

We have heard repeatedly that the war in Iraq is what has created and sustained terror, that American support for Israel has inflamed the Palestinians against the United States, that the failure of European states to assimilate Arab immigrants has led to the anger of the Arab street, and that the West must not militarily take on Iran’s nuclear capabilities for fear of inciting an incalculable Islamic response.

But now that we see that things as insignificant as cartoons – some admittedly offensive and odious, but cartoons nonetheless – can provoke such carnage and mayhem, it is clear that a once great faith is now going through a dark period where violence is treated as an act of first resort.

It was not always thus. Those who believe that Islam is an intrinsically violent and bullying religion are guilty of prejudice as well as ignorance. For at least half a millennium, Islam led the world in sophistication, education, and civility.

Al-Mamun, caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, established state-funded places of study, focusing on translations of Greek and other works of antiquity, that predated the first European universities by more than 300 years. The Abbasid Muslim empire had an agricultural revolution in the 8th century that produced technological innovations the likes of which wouldn’t been seen in the West for a couple more centuries.

In the area of medical advancement, Al-Razi of Baghdad wrote numerous medical books in the 10th century, including groundbreaking health treatments which Western medicine could not match until the 18th century. The Muslim Sultan Akbar of India was known for his cross-cultural appointments to office and enactment of laws embracing religious toleration and protection of women and children; he also was one of the very first commanders to insist upon the proper treatment of captured enemy troops.

And then, of course, there is Sultan Saladin of Egypt, who was greatly admired for his humanity even by his Frankish, crusading enemies. It is said that he taught the European knights the code of chivalry.

How tragic that a religion with such a glorious legacy could be reduced to using bullying and violence as the principal means by which it achieves its objectives. We in the West have become so accustomed to speeches by imams calling for people’s heads to be chopped off and for the blood of infidels to run like water that such sacrilegious words hardly even raise an eyebrow.

The embarrassing fiasco of the Saddam Hussein trial drags on with the unbelievable spectacle of an international criminal bullying an entire court. Here is a human slug who murdered, according to The New York Times, at least 1.1 million people, and yet every day he yells at his judge, insults the court, and amazingly, gets away with it.

And what of Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic world’s bully-in-chief? My father was born in Iran and I was raised surrounded by Iranian culture. That a country that produced one of the most sublime and advanced civilizations of all time could be led today by a cruel clown is a tragedy of unspeakable proportions. That this brutal buffoon is allowed to carry on calling for the destruction of a UN member state without any sanction or censure demonstrates the extent of the UN’s impotence.

In this clash of civilizations between the Islamic and Western worlds, the one great issue that defines the divide is the role of violence in everyday life. In the West the belief is that violence is an option of last resort. It is to be used sparingly, and only after every other avenue has been exhausted.

The problem with the Islamic world is not that Muslims get offended at cartoons they perceive as mocking their faith. Indeed, we Jews should likewise defend Islam against every act of defamation. But as Jews we have been conditioned to believe that violence is never a legitimate response to anything but a direct threat to human life. Arab newspapers regularly publish anti-Semitic caricatures displaying Jews with giant noses snorting up money. But the idea of going and torching Arab offices or threatening journalists with beheading, as leaders of Hamas have done to the Danish cartoonists, would be as distant to us as eating pork on Yom Kippur.

I come across Muslim men and women all the time and invariably find them pious, pleasant, and kind. I find an immediate affinity between their love for their Islamic faith and my love for Judaism. Most Muslims live lives like you and me, working hard to support their families and striving to impart Godly values to their children. And since they are such decent people, how can they remain silent while their glorious religion becomes a global bully?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the recent winner of the American Jewish Press Association’s Award for Excellence in Commentary. The author of 15 books, including his most recent, “Hating Women: America’s Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex,” he is also the winner of the London Times’s Preacher of the Year award.

About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Islamists Deface Their Glorious Heritage”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian youth hurl stones at Israel Police forces (unseen) during clashes with Police after friday prayers in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al Amoud on February 28, 2014, Jerusalem, Israel. Police today in order to prevent riots limted the entrance for Muslim worship to men over age 50. Photo by Sliman Khader/Flash90
‘Benign Neglect’ May Be Setting Up Eastern Jerusalem Jews for Expulsion
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

On the one hand, Putin has been a friend to Chabad and to Israel. On the other hand, Putin is a brutal dictator.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the American Jewish public.

Rabbi Schochet wrote the Johannesburg Beis Din: It is totally prohibited and unacceptable to hear someone like Boteach.

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

The world and the United State continue to give Rouhani a pass.

American Jews – especially those working on campus – don’t accept that we have a battle on our hands.

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/islamists-deface-their-glorious-heritage/2006/02/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: