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Posts Tagged ‘California State University’

Why The West Is Ripe For Jihadists’ Plucking

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The riots and violence in Afghanistan over some accidentally burned Korans followed a script that by now is all too drearily familiar. As we have seen over the years with the riots over the Muhammad cartoons, Pope Benedict’s comments about violence in Islam, or false rumors of Korans flushed down toilets, violent Muslim overreactions to slights are immediately followed by anxious apologies from American leaders. Rather than defusing the anger, however, such groveling merely encourages more contempt and violence.

So too with these latest riots, which have killed more than 30 people, including several U.S. soldiers. This violence, moreover, has been encouraged by mullahs in mosques, teachers in madrassas, and members of parliament. Predictably, the Taliban – with whom our government is eager to talk peace – has encouraged people to “turn their guns on the foreign infidel invaders.”

President Obama responded to the incitement and violence by offering his personal “sincere apologies,” professing his “deep regret,” and vowing to hold those responsible accountable. Defense Secretary Panetta and NATO commander John Allen also apologized.

But no reciprocal apology was demanded from President Hamid Karzai for the incitement to violence on the part of government and religious leaders, or for the deaths of two of our troops at the hands of an Afghan soldier we trained and armed, and another two inside a government ministry.

The administration and the military, of course, rationalize their indulgence of this double standard as motivated by “the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there,” as Obama spokesman Jay Carney put it. But as one demonstrator in Kabul said, “We don’t care about Obama’s apology…. They are burning our Koran. An apology is not enough.”

Most Afghans obviously agree, since rioting and killing have intensified despite apologies from our highest government and military officials. Indeed, over the past few decades, no amount of apologies for alleged “insults” to Muslims has stopped Islamists from attacking us. Nor have the good deeds benefiting Muslims, from rescuing Bosnians from genocide to liberating Libyans from Khaddafi, stopped jihadists from wanting to kill Americans for an endless list of reasons.

The past decades of such incidents have shown instead that apologies are useless, and merely endorse the perverse logic that accidentally burning a book is worse than murdering our soldiers and citizens. Why else would we publicly flagellate ourselves over such “insults” even as we say nothing about the Muslim murders of Christians in Egypt and Nigeria, or the Muslim laws prescribing capital punishment for converts to Christianity, or the Muslim vandalizing and destruction of 300 churches in Cyprus, or the Muslim slow-motion extermination of Christians in countries where Christianity existed for centuries before Islam was born?

These double standards are counterproductive and have been proven over and over to make Muslims despise us rather than like us. What we refuse to accept is the intolerant chauvinism inherent in Islam, the belief that Muslims are the “best of nations” and destined to rule the world. Accepting the double standard merely confirms their superiority and our inferiority. After all, to let someone behave according to one set of principles or standards while demanding that you be subjected to others is to validate a claim of superiority that justifies the disproportionate and unjust behavior. It’s acting like a battered wife who accepts a beat-down from her husband as justified punishment for burning his dinner.

In the West’s struggle with Islamic jihad, our doubts about the superiority of Western beliefs have coupled with this breakdown in ethical reasoning. The result is the appeasement of jihadist aggression and the confirmation of the jihadist estimation of the West’s weakness and corruption.

This appeasement has encouraged many Muslims to demand from Westerners a hypersensitivity to Islam, all the while that Christians and Jews in Muslim countries are subjected to harassment, assault, vicious insult, and murder. In the West, respect for Muslim holy books and practices is supposed to be granted as a self-evident right beyond argument or debate. Yet Western ideals and principles, such as tolerance for different creeds, are derided, disrespected, and rejected as self-evident evils. Worse yet, we pretend our appeasement of jihadist violence is an expression of tolerance, the liberal-democratic virtue that simply has little meaning in Islamic theology. We know why many of our leaders accept this double standard. They have bought into John Lennon’s juvenile utopia in which there is “nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.” Shorn of their transcendent, non-negotiable foundations, all our beliefs are now contingent and negotiable, easily traded away for security or comfort. At the same time, multiculturalism bestows on the non-Western “other” a finely calibrated sensitivity to his culture and religion, no matter how dysfunctional or oppressive, all the while the West refuses to extend such consideration to its own.

Jews Up in Arms over Revisionist Israeli Historian’s Visit to Fresno State

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Controversial Israeli historian Ilan Pappé will be speaking Thursday at Fresno State – and many in the local Jewish community are angry about it.

Pappé is one of Israel’s “New Historians” who have been rewriting the Jewish state’s history, starting with the circumstances of its creation in 1948, especially the flight of the Palestinians. He accuses the Israeli government at the time of a policy of ethnic cleansing, known as Plan Dalet. He blames the creation of Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East, arguing that Zionism is more dangerous than Islamic militancy, and has called for an international boycott of Israeli academics. He is a prominent supporter of the One-State Solution – envisaging one state for Palestinians and Israelis.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Hebrew lecturer at the University of California at Santa Cruz and co-founder of the Amcha Initiative, and other opponents of the visit object to the fact that it was organized by the dean of California State University, Fresno’s College of Arts and Humanities, and is being co-sponsored by the university’s Middle East Studies Program.

“It is essentially state-sponsored anti-Semitism,” Rossman-Benjamin told the Fresno Bee. In addition, she said, it sends the wrong message to the university’s Jewish students, which is why The Amcha Initiative has been trying to kill the visit.

The presidents of Fresno State, California State University at Northridge – where Pappé spoke Monday night – and California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, responded in an open letter: “Our universities do not endorse any particular position but emphatically support the rights of people to express and hear all points of view.”

Pappé’s Thursday speech is titled “Arab Spring and Palestine-Israel ‘Peace Process.’”

Rossman-Benjamin’s group produced a video titled “CSU, Abuse of Public Resources” that was posted on YouTube. The video accuses administrators and faculty at several California State University campuses of “using their university positions and taxpayer-funded university resources to promote anti-Semitic hatred.”

Bin Laden Is Dead, But Our Delusions Live On

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The death of Osama bin Laden has some symbolic value, particularly for theUnited States. A great power exercises influence not just through its military and economic assets, but through its prestige. A power that can be relied on to punish its enemies, no matter how long it takes, and reward its friends will be respected, and that respect will figure into the calculations of other nations as they pursue their interests.

Killing bin Laden may go a little way to repairing our prestige by undoing the recent foreign policy mistakes in the Middle East. Apart from that slim possibility, however, the practical effects of bin Laden’s death will be minimal.

There is much wishful thinking right now about the negative impact of his demise on the morale of al Qaeda and other jihadist outfits. Yet the flashpoint of al Qaeda activity is no longer in Afghanistan but in Yemen. Then there are the other, more dangerous groups such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, and Hamas in Gaza, all of which share al Qaeda’s aim of attacking the West and using violence to change our behavior.

Meanwhile, in Egypt the Muslim Brothers, the theoretical godfather of modern jihadism, are enjoying new political power and support from the people.

And, as the recently thwarted terrorist plot in Germany demonstrates, there are an unknown number of autonomous jihadist cells throughout the world that will not stop plotting and attempting terrorist attacks just because bin Laden is now a “martyr.” Religious movements pursuing spiritual aims are not dependent on the life of any one or even a thousand mortal men.

Even more important is what the operation reveals about the duplicity of Pakistan. President Obama’s diplomatic nod to that country’s cooperation can’t hide the obvious: it is highly unlikely that bin Laden could have holed up for six years in a million-dollar compound with 12-foot high barbed-wire fences, in a city of 100,000 that hosts Pakistan’s most prestigious military academy, without the knowledge and sufferance of highly placed Pakistani military and security officials.

That’s why the operation was kept secret from our so-called allies until the very last minute. But we know Pakistan has been playing a double game for almost a decade, cooperating just enough to keep receiving billions in aid and military hardware, at the same time supporting and protecting the insurgents and terrorists killing our troops in Afghanistan.

More broadly, removing bin Laden from the scene will do little to change the delusional interpretation of jihadism that has compromised our policies no matter which political party is in power. This is the idea that Islamists have “hijacked” the “religion of peace” in order to pursue their totalitarian aims.

So far, though, we haven’t seen huge demonstrations in the Muslim world celebrating the death of a man who brought such disorder and opprobrium to Muslims, despite a plunge in support for bin Laden and al Qaeda – a result not of his “distortion” of Islam, but of attacks on Muslims in Afghanistan.

But, then, we never have seen over the past decade mass demonstrations by “moderate” Muslims protesting the Islamist distortion of Islamic doctrine, or marching to condemn terrorist violence against Westerners.

What we have seen are large celebrations of the 9/11 attacks, and violent riots about various perceived “insults” to Islam and Mohammed. Nor was bin Laden a fringe figure like pseudo-Christians David Koresh or Jim Jones, a bearded maniac living in a cave and concocting bizarre interpretations of Islamic doctrine. On the contrary, bin Laden knew Islam’s doctrine, history, and theology. In his writingsand those of his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, we find arguments for jihadist violence buttressed with quotations from the Koran and references to other Islamic texts. And these arguments are consistent with the views of other respected Muslim figures.

Even someone armed with a dull Occam’s razor can figure out from all this evidence that far from being outside the Islamic tradition, the jihadists are squarely within it in the view of millions of Muslims. That helps explain Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, and the billions of dollars flowing to jihadist organizations from Gulf petrocracies. Yet we persist in imposing our materialist philosophy on a spiritual struggle, and rationalizing away the religious dimension of jihadism.

Grievance Politics Barks, King Hearings Move On

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The hearings convened by Representative Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, to examine the recruitment of American Muslims as jihadist terrorists revealed all the pathologies of multicultural grievance politics that for decades now have compromised our response to Islamic jihad.

The need for the hearings is obvious, given the problem of homegrown jihadists that Obama administration officials like Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano have publicly discussed without any of the hysterics that have attended King’s hearings. But facts seldom inhibit grievance-politics mongers, whose power and prestige derive from incessantly replaying the melodrama of white racism, xenophobia, and other “irrational fears,” as Eugene Robinson put it in the Washington Post.

The charge that King’s hearings are “McCarthyite” is so trite that it means nothing. And those hurling the charge forget that there were in fact communists infiltrating U.S. government agencies, just as today there are in fact American Muslims plotting terrorist attacks.

Then there was Representative Keith Ellison, driven to tears by the story of Muhammad Salman Hamdania, who died trying to rescue people on 9/11. But “some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith,” Ellison said. “Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers only because he was Muslim.”

But as Matthew Shaffer has pointed out at National Review Online, little evidence of such “false rumors” exist apart from one story in The New York Post. But that brief speculation went nowhere, and Hamdania was mentioned by name in the Patriot Act as an example of a loyal American Muslim and received numerous other posthumous honors from the media and government.

Another weapon used by apologists for jihad, specious moral equivalency, was also brandished during the hearings. Representative Bennie Thompson called for the investigations of “anti-government” and “white supremacist” groups, even though the number of attacks and murders perpetrated by such groups is minuscule compared to jihadist attacks, 17,000 of which have been documented since 9/11.

Of course, the “anti-government” reference is a subtle dig at small-government Republicans and Tea Party members, who are continually, and falsely, linked to violence by liberals. Likewise conjuring the “white supremacist” bogey, Representative Al Greene wanted the committee to investigate the moribund Ku Klux Klan and its alleged links to Christianity, which is sort of like demanding an investigation into zeppelin crashes.

These claims that there are other terrorist organizations as dangerous as Islamic jihadist outfits are nothing other than rhetorical misdirection. They are based on the false moral equivalency that claims religious-inspired violence can be found in every confession, and so the Islamic jihadists are merely “extremists” who have “hijacked” a peaceful religion.

This assertion, made by many conservatives and Republicans as well, is the big lie perpetuated by the apologists and propagandists for Islamist violence. Typical is Georgetown University’s John Esposito, who has written, “Terrorists can attempt to hijack Islam and the doctrine of jihad, but that is no more legitimate than Christian and Jewish extremists committing their acts of terrorism in their own unholy wars in the name of Christianity and Judaism.”

Apart from the fact that one can count on one hand Christian and Jewish “acts of terrorism” committed explicitly to advance a spiritual aim, Esposito’s claim rests on a duplicitous definition of jihad as, to quote John Brennan, Obama’s assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the imperative “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.”

Moreover, nowhere in the Bible is there a timeless, theological imperative to wage war against those of another faith. The violence sanctioned in the Old Testament is “descriptive, not prescriptive,” as Raymond Ibrahim writesin The Middle East Quarterly. It reflects history, not theology. Nor can one find in the New Testament a single verse that summons the faithful to wage war against unbelievers.

But Islam does have a theology of violence attested in numerous scriptures from the Koran, as well as in the collection of Muhammad’s deeds and sayings called the Hadith, and in fourteen centuries of Islamic jurisprudence and theology. This injunction to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush,” as one Koranic verse has it, clearly does not refer to some Dale Carnegie-like course of self-improvement, or to a mere spiritual struggle.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/grievance-politics-barks-king-hearings-move-on/2011/03/23/

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