”By Robert Spencer on FrontPageMagazine”
Continues from Part I
Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.
Using Islamic locutions will only lead many Muslims to believe that Obama is a Muslim, which could get him into some difficult situations.
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
This issue has been a source of tension between the
It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed
The fourth issue that I will address is democracy. I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in
Does that include Sharia?
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people.
He doesn’t seem to understand that in Islam there is a very different understanding of the meaning of “justice” and “freedom.”
There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.
The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and
More historical myth. Even Maria Rosa Menocal, in her extended whitewash of Muslim Spain called The Ornament of the World, admits that the laws of dhimmitude were very much in force in the great Al-Andalus. She says: “The dhimmi, as these covenanted peoples were called, were granted religious freedom, not forced to convert to Islam. They could continue to be Jews and Christians, and, as it turned out, they could share in much of Muslim social and economic life. In return for this freedom of religious conscience the Peoples of the Book (pagans had no such privilege) were required to pay a special tax — no Muslims paid taxes — and to observe a number of restrictive regulations: Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals.”
So much for that “proud tradition of tolerance.” Also, historian Kenneth Baxter Wolf observes that “much of this new legislation aimed at limiting those aspects of the Christian cult which seemed to compromise the dominant position of Islam.” After enumerating a list of laws much like Menocal’s, he adds: “Aside from such cultic restrictions most of the laws were simply designed to underscore the position of the dimmîs as second-class citizens.”
If Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together peaceably and productively only with Christians and Jews relegated by law to second-class citizen status, then al-Andalus has absolutely no reason to be lionized in our age. Obama should know that the laws of dhimmitude give his claim of a “proud tradition of tolerance” the same hollow ring as the stories of prominent American blacks from the slavery and Jim Crow eras: yes, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington were great men, but their accomplishments not only do not erase or contradict the records of the oppression of their people, but render them all the more poignant and haunting. Whatever the Christians and Jews of al-Andalus accomplished, they were still dhimmis. They enjoyed whatever rights and privileges they had not out of any sense of the dignity of all people before God, or the equality of all before the law, but at the sufferance of their Muslim overlords.
I saw it firsthand as a child in
“People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul.” -- Obama
“If anyone changes his religion, kill him.” -- Muhammad, the prophet of Islam
Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of another’s. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld – whether it is for Maronites in
It is good to see him mention this. It will be interesting to see if he backs it up with action on the behalf of Maronites or Copts.
Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the
Will he make sure that zakat doesn’t go for jihad, as it has in the past -- cf. the Holy Land Foundation’s millions for Hamas?
Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.
Will Obama speak out for the women who have been threatened and even killed for not wearing clothes that Islamic supremacists found acceptable?
Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in
Platitudes and naivete.
The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.
I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In
Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the
How does he propose to overcome the culture that teachings like this create? The Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223).
The Qur’an also declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282).
It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3).
It rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” ().
Worst of all, the Qur’an tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them” ().
It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).
Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.
I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence.
Britney causes jihad: Dinesh D’Souza, call your office! Maybe the far-seeing conservative writer can get a job in the Obama Administration, now that Obama is suggesting that he shares D’Souza’s preposterous thesis that
And eight centuries before Qutb’s birth, a recurring feature of Muslim polemic against the Crusaders was the sexual immorality of the “Franks.” According to an anonymous poet at the time of the First Crusade, the Europeans completely overturned the moral order: “What is right is null and void and what is forbidden is made licit.” Muslims will always charge non-Muslims with immorality unless they adopt Islamic moral norms. But this alleged immorality no more causes the jihad than do American policies toward
Now Santa promises gifts:
Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations – including my own – this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities – those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.
But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like
This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many
On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to
On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a
On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and
All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
What will we get in return for all those gifts? He thinks we will get good will. We have spent billions already, however, and have no good will to show for it.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek – a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
I know there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim – who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.
Seeing things realistically is not to “stoke the flames of division,” although I am sure he will conflate them.
Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort – that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.
The Holy Qur’an tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”
The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”
The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.
And over and out, in a flourish of naive Rodney-Kingism.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Obama and Islam: Presidential Historical Revisionism; Part II
”By Robert Spencer on FrontPageMagazine”