Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Humour" from the Left

Post 10--

I want to share with you some humorous attitudes of the so-called “left” in the US towards Muslims. First, the very interesting insights of Laurence Elder, a syndicated columnist, from a copyrighted article of his. That means I can describe the article, I can summarize it, I can interpret it, but I cannot reproduce it in this forum. But it’s so interesting and, really, sort of humorous, that I will take the trouble to describe/ summarize part of it for you. The title of the article is “Australian Muslim cleric calls for beheading -- who cares?”

He refers to two incidents: (1) an Australian Muslim cleric’s call for the head of Dutch alleged anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders and (2) the threat of the American pastor Terry Jones to burn the Qur’an. The first evoked hardly any reaction from anywhere, while the other provoked “an international outcry” from the highest authorities in the land, if not the world. Actually, these are three incidents, with the first being two in one—a Muslim cleric and a Dutch politician.

The Australian, Feiz Muhammad, was already infamous for other pranks. He allegedly called for the radicalization of young children and held rape victims responsible for their misfortune. As to Wilders, "(De Telegraaf, the Netherlands' largest newspaper) posted an English-language audio clip in which he [Muhammad]refers to Wilders as 'this Satan, this devil, this politician in Holland' and explains that anyone who talks about Islam like Wilders does should be executed by beheading....”

Elder reports that “civil libertarian groups vigorously defended Muhammad’s vile but protected speech,” while they were completely silent about events surrounding Wilders, who was attacked for his rather wild but also protected speeches against Muslims. He asks, “Where are the free-speech groups denouncing the prosecution of Wilders for making abrasive comments?” Put more clearly, how come those same libertarians do not defend Wilders’ right to free speech? Elder continues, “If a proposed Quran burning generates international news and condemnation, isn't the call by an Australian Muslim cleric for the beheading of a democratically elected European politician worthy of a few moments on the network nightly news?” Should that Muslim call for Wilders’ head not evoke similar indignation from those same libertarians?

Elder wonders why offensive acts by Muslims provoke calls for sensitivity and understanding” from the left without anyone defending Wilders’ right to free speech. Barbarous statements and acts by Muslims in the name of Islam generate indifference. Wilders can be attacked for his anti-Muslim statements with the same libertarians merely standing by with folded arms. And then, of course, the leftist uproar about Pastor Jones. His threat to burn the Qur’an evoked fearful and fierce antagonism from many quarters, including the highest authorities in the land right along with that from our libertarian goons. Elder wonders why the contradiction. Indeed, why? Why the double standard?

Humorous lob-sidedness on the part of these libertarians. Who has the liberty to do or say what? Within that community, why can some say what they want, no matter how vile, while others have their mouths sown shut or are attacked? Extremist Muslims must be protected and treated with sensitivity and understanding. A radically right Western politician, may be vilified and prosecuted for expressing his political beliefs, the job for which he was legitimately voted into office. As to that ludicrous call to burn the Qur’an, well, it goes without saying that, in view of the Muslim violence this would provoke and the added danger this would create for Americans abroad, this is scandalous. I am happy that libertarian leftists were so eager to protect the American establishment and its soldiers out on Asian adventures! Unusual, to be sure, but appreciated—and humorous! Or was there some other motive? Mmm.

The Elder article continues on to other things, but somewhere along the line he provides an explanation for this kind of leftist attitude. He comments, “Barbarity in the name of Islam is not even remotely condemned [by these leftists] to the degree that the West condemns insensitivity by cartoonists, politicians and anti-Islam clerics." Why? A denunciation of Muslim practices suggests a superiority of American values and culture, something the left finds a very objectionable notion.

Elder also refers to an article by Fred Gottheil from the University of Illinois, who in another context came to the same conclusion. He wrote, "If leftist 'progressives' really cared about women, gays and lesbians, then they would be fighting for their rights in places where such rights are really violated -- like under Hamas in Gaza and under the mullahs in Iran. But doing so would legitimize their own society and its values and therefore completely cripple their entire identity and life purpose, and so their purported concern for women, gays and lesbians has to go out the window."

It has not always been so. The US-based Egyptian Muslim Leila Ahmed, in her book A Border Passage (1999), expressed her absolute shock when she first entered the world of American university feminists. She remembers being openly besieged with “furious questions and declarations openly dismissive of Islam.” She would be attacked about the veil and clitoridectomy when these were far removed from the subject at hand. She encountered an atmosphere of outright hostility and sheer ignorance on the part of her fellow feminists who, by implication, demanded that she and others in similar situations abandon their culture because it was “intrinsically, essentially, and irredeemably misogynist and patriarchal.” They were expected to give up on their culture and adopt that of their American colleagues. While the entire enterprise of these feminists was to critique, destroy all their own cultural traditions and restructure their own society, suddenly, when it came to Muslims, the latter were expected to join and adopt the very culture they so vehemently vilified! Go figure.

Today, the attitude of these feminists would, of course, lean in quite different directions. Apart from the veil and clitoridectomy issues, they would likely mirror the image of the first crowd of libertines in this article—the very opposite of what they once advocated. Or would they now possibly defend the veil and clitoridectomy in the name of sensitivity and understanding?

I just wanted to draw your attention to “leftist” humour when it comes to Islam. But the humour does not stop here. I was kind of horrified when Ahmed referred to these American feminists as Christian and amazed that she expected them to have any knowledge of Christianity at all, apart from utter negativity. Now we run into the Muslim tendency to regard everything in the West as Christian. Ahmed was shocked at the ignorance of her colleagues about Islam; I am shocked at the ignorance of Ahmed about the West. Humour has no bounds, it appears!

I guess one of these days, in order to be "fair" and "balanced," I should write about rightist humour. Not sure there is such a thing, but if I dig deep and long enough.... Who knows.

(Note: Since I write about leftists and rightists, you may be wondering where I live. I use these terms only because those are the ones used in popular discussions. Though I have little choice in the use of this vocabulary, I do not identify with either. I am a Calvinist with different parameters. You can find me all over the place, then here, then there, not because I am a wavering person, but because Calvinism simply does not fit those categories.)

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