Some fine folks over at Harvard have put together a two-volume encyclopedia on “Islam In America,” and it’s getting pretty decent reviews. At least, the author of the Boston Globe’s article seems to think it’s just the cat’s pajamas.
I’m impressed, too. It’s remarkable how much white-washing, weasel-wording, and sheer chutzpah they can toss together, and get folks to fork over $200.00 for.
Here’s one fun little quote from the article:
The Sept. 11 terror attacks resulted in some highly publicized anti-Muslim intolerance, in general, but “being in America is a wonderful occasion to be free,” Cesari says. “They come from countries where democracy and freedom of expression are not so common.” Here, topics taboo in some Muslim countries – homosexuality, the status of women – are accepted.
“All these can be said and discussed outside the control of states or radical groups,” Cesari says. “If you write a book today that would look at the Koran as a historical document” rather than God’s inspired word, “you can end up in jail” in certain countries.
First up, I remember hearing a lot of accounts of “anti-Muslim intolerance” after 9/11. The vast majority of them were, to put it kindly, bullshit. I don’t have the official figures, but I believe the total was around 3% actual anti-Muslim action, 97% Muslim whining of “don’t blame us for what those other people who say they’re like us did, even though you probably asked for it.”
Second, isn’t it rather remarkable how the speaker is tacitly admitting that almost anywhere Muslims hold power, life is pretty damned crappy for them? And in the one other place he cites how wonderful and equal Muslims are, non-Muslims are forbidden from entering on pain of death?
Then there’s the camel in the room, the big, smelly thing no one really wants to talk about:
Time will tell whether Muslim readers will quarrel with the decision to include certain entries and omit others, but the authors have tried to run a thread of objectivity through the subject matter. The “terrorism” entry, for example, notes that it is a “complex issue for the American Muslim community. Since at least the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, political violence by Muslims has become a concern for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Many of these acts have been carried out explicitly in the name of Islam, which a majority of American Muslims view as religiously and morally unacceptable.”
First off, “political violence by Muslims” has been around since about 1948, when they launched their first war to kill all the Jews. Or, if you like, how about 1973, when a bunch of “Allahu Ackbar”-shouting guys massacred a bunch of Israeli athletes in Munich. Or… well, there are a zillion other examples that show that the idea of political violence did not spring out of nowhere in 1979.
I’d also like to see some evidence that “a majority of American Muslims view (terrorism) as religiously and morally unacceptable.” It’s been my experience that the standard responses of American Muslims is the aforementioned “you can’t blame us,” followed by “you asked for it, really.” And the number of terrorist plots broken up by tips from American Muslims who said “you will NOT commit those atrocities in the name of MY faith!” are pretty slim.
On “sexuality,” the encyclopedia notes that most Muslims, following the Koran, believe homosexuality is a sin. But the entry also notes that gay, bisexual, and transgender Muslims “find themselves torn between Muslim communities that reject homosexuality and [their own sexual] communities that criticize traditional Islam.”
Notice how the gloss over that a gay Muslim who gets caught during the Hajj — or any other place where Islamic law holds sway — will most likely be killed. And in a most unpleasant way.
Remember, every time you hear someone say “Islam is a religion of peace,” that is not what “Islam” means. Islam means “submission.”