The Differences Among Us-Part TwoMy basic premise is that there are significant differences between the Judeo-Christian culture and the Islamic culture. It is these perceived and interpreted differences that are the root cause of much of today's terror and violence perpetrated against the West. Understanding that differences do exist, acknowledging that they exist and then being willing to take appropriate actions is the reason we must finally face this clear and present danger. Proper identification of the problem is the only way one can develop appropriate and effective answers. To continue to inaccurately identify the problem or to ignore or deny its existence can only mean we are unwilling to defend our way of life. I submit for consideration that this is our generation's trial and, therefore, test.1
The context of this piece is to identify some of the overt behavioral differences between the Judeo-Christian and Muslim cultures. The author has no intention of indicating that the behaviors are doctrine driven; rather I do suggest that they are demonstrative of the influence each group's culture has upon their resultant actions. For purposes of the discussion the following definition of culture has again been used:
The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression...The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.2Knowledge, experiences, and interactions with people enable a person to develop his/her own personal belief system. Setting aside the role religion plays in development of one's beliefs, the socialization and education of an individual certainly helps one form a point of view. The result of forming opinions about life, others and sense of morality is acted out as behavior that is reinforced by the participant's social group. We are who we are in part because of whom we live with and with whom we develop. Mix in religious teachings and the essence of a human being is formed.
We, in America, understand this simple explanation of why people are different from one another. Those of us who grew up in the East find it odd, different and even difficult to live in the West-the way of life is so disparate from one another. How many stories have we each heard about the native Californian deciding to leave his/her life, move to another state, only to return to California within 5 years. The reason so often given: I just could not adapt to their way of thinking or acting-I needed to come home. This is witnessed around our country daily and we even have developed a sense of humor about it. Therefore, it is quite easy to understand that our views and values, the manner in which we choose to live are significantly different from those people who live in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia - to identify but a few countries. Everything from how we dress, to what we eat, to how we greet people to behavioral expectations between men and women and so much more is as different as the sun and the moon. To dismiss that these differences exist is naïve and ignorant. To chastise those who point out the differences is demonstrative of one's failure to tell the truth. It seems lately that identifying differences automatically puts one into a category of being intolerant or racist. What a pity, to tell the truth is the ethical and moral duty of a good person.
The USA is perhaps the largest example of an ongoing social experiment. We are still in the process of learning how to live cooperatively with so many different groups of people choosing to become part of our culture. We are still figuring it out. What has been missing for some time is what does it mean to be an American? A return to this discussion is crucial. I will offer only this: our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and beliefs; we believe that English should be the primary language, we developed a Constitution grounded in the aforementioned values and we believe in a multitude of freedoms. From this foundation an entire American lifestyle has emerged-the result of commonly held beliefs assimilation is still going on each day. A code of operational behaviors is the result of the commonly held values. These translate into daily behaviors such as greetings, foods, speaking styles and clothing lines. Our life philosophy and thus our daily behavior is based upon the sum total of all the experiences we have had until today; we act in accordance with these. People are simply different.
It may be due to my own life HYPERLINK "http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/perspicacity" perspicacity but I for one love the Western culture I live in and I choose it for my children and grandchildren. I do not support another culture coming into my country of origin and imposing itself upon me. I was taught from the time I could talk to always respect another's person's home and to not impose our family's way of doing things on them. As I have traveled the world, I have adopted the same attitude. The fact is that visiting many other countries, particularly those in the Middle East and South Asia where Islam is the dominant religion, it is imperative that one not impose on others his/her homegrown behaviors; the consequences are severe. Yet, today, it is some practioners of Islam who want to impose their entire way of life upon us. The following represents only the tip of the iceberg:
- The Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society, an organization the Chicago Tribune has established is devoted to turning the United States into a country run by Islamic law. The wife of a former head of the organization, for example, has explained that its goal is "to educate everyone about Islam and to follow the teachings of Islam with the hope of establishing an Islamic state."3
- "The government of Saudi Arabia is distributing books and pamphlets across the United States in an effort to recruit American Muslims to an international struggle against Christians and Jews, the director of a religious freedom organization told the Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 8."4
- Omar M. Ahmad Chairman of CAIR made the following statement a few years ago, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran ... should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." To be fair, I must note that CAIR announced that Omar Ahmad denied making the statement and CAIR was seeking a retraction from the newspaper that published the story on July 4, 1998. As a follow up side note Steve Waterhouse, editor of The Argus in Fremont, Calif., told WND his paper has not been contacted by CAIR. The article of denial also was run in a sister publication, the San Ramon Valley Herald. The paper's city editor, Dave Boitano, said he would have known if CAIR had sought a retraction. Interesting strategy CAIR employs.
- Imam Siraj Wahaj, a CAIR board member, who is one of the most respected American Muslim leaders and is vice president of the Islamic Society of North America. Dr. Daniel Pipes reports that he "calls for replacing the U.S. government with a caliphate."
- "...The determination of the Kingdom to support Islam and Islamic institutions to the best of its ability was evident from the formation of the Kingdom by King Abdul Aziz but it was only when oil revenues began to generate real wealth that the Kingdom could fulfill its ambitions of spreading the word of Islam to every corner of the world, of assisting Muslim countries less well endowed economically and of alleviating the suffering of Muslim minorities wherever they might live."
- Efforts in the U.S.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Fahd Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, has given support to the following institutions in the United States:
- Dar Al-Salam Institute, the Fresno Mosque in California
- Islamic Center in Colombia, Missouri
- Islamic Center in East Lansing, Michigan
- Islamic Center in Los Angeles, California
- Islamic Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey
- Islamic Center in New York
- Islamic Center in Tida, Maryland
- Islamic Center in Toledo, Ohio
- Islamic Center in Virginia
- Islamic Center in Washington
- Islamic Cultural Center in Chicago
- King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles
- Mosque of the Albanian Community in Chicago
- South-West Big Mosque of Chicago
- Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque in Los Angeles."5
The language we use is different as well as interpreted differently. There are many common day examples. Here in Israel what is reported in English to the media is reported the exact opposite in Arabic. Peace for our culture means to accept the other party, tolerate and empower the person and truly believe that conflict is over. In the Islamic world of interpretation there is but a hudna - temporary lull. Once the leaders feel they have more than enough power they immediately attack-there is no such concept as peace.
Even during wartime the West operates within certain rules or laws. The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law, including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among other liberties. There are naive old-fashioned habits such as respecting religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of war, avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human shields or human bombs.7
The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the rule of law in a totally lawless environment. It is trying to play ice hockey by sending a ballerina ice-skater into the ring or to knock out a heavyweight boxer by a chess player... The amazing thing is that all of these crooks demand protection under international law, and define all those who attack them as "war criminals," with some Western media repeating the allegations.7
Judaism and Christianity are religions unto themselves. Not so with Islam. Nagdi Allam, born in Egypt, and today vice editor of the Corriere della Sera wrote that the root of evil was in the blind ideology of hatred by some Muslims, an ideology that was raping the faith...The problem is an internal Islamic problem since extremists have transformed the faith in God into an ideology which wants to impose a theocratic and totalitarian regime, he concluded.8
Islam is not a religion as most Westerners understand it. For the Western media and apologetic thinkers, Islam is compared to Christianity, and Muslim groups in the European and American countries are defined as religious communities... But Islam is not a religion in this narrow sense. It is much more than that. It is a system of law, it is a social and political system; it is a way of life. It has full control over the behavior of the individual, the society, and the state. It deals with war and peace, it defines the relations between the Moslems and the rest of the world, and as we saw, it also determines the attitude to non-Muslims who are unfortunate enough to come under Islamic rule.9
In the West we believe in freedom of speech, which includes criticizing and accepting criticism. This behavior comes directly from our Judeo-Christian values. This is absolutely not accepted nor true for many practicing Islam. The current examples are the Muslim world's reactions to the Danish cartoons, to the words of a Pope quoting another writer and a teacher in France who has gone into hiding after receiving death threats. His offense? He published a column in the French newspaper Le Figaro in which he characterized the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist.
The resultant behavior of this poor man's honesty and accurate statement is the following:
Redeker said that one of the threats he received stated: You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, three hundred thousand Muslims are ready to kill you. As the death threats poured in, everyone abandoned Redeker. The teacher himself noted that France's education ministry has not even contacted me, has not deigned to get in touch to see if I need any help. The senior editor of Le Figaro, Pierre Rousselin, declared on Al-Jazeera that he had been mistaken to publish Redeker's article, and hastened to assure the Islamic world that the article did not reflect the opinion of the paper.10 Allow me to suggest that the Islamic rhetoric still seems to cause some people to lose any sense of ethics as well as any remaining courage they might have had.
It seems to me that the concept and application of multi-culturalism has had some unintended consequences-at least I hope they were unintended. For example, those of us who question the belief that everyone can live together peacefully are labeled anti this and -ist that; even in the hallowed halls of my academia I cannot have a reasonable discussion when I challenge my colleagues on this point. We have created a social consciousness that has invented political correctness as an operational behavior in our daily speaking lives. People are fearful of upsetting someone else or goodness gracious offending someone. This has lead to passive acceptance of others behavioral practices. We are not standing up to or by our internal behavioral principles. The consequences to each of us are enormous. The regretful results are dangerous to our country. Curiously political correctness does not seem to be part of other peoples' culture and thus they are not bound by it. However, it is used against us and has highlighted our Achilles heel.
Finally, the concept of 'Pre-emptive obedience' is making a comeback in re-unified Germany and several other European countries. What is this? In Communist East Germany this meant guessing the future orders of the politburo and obeying them before they were issued. There have been many examples of this recently in Europe, although it has also presented itself in America.11 Here are but a few:
- It was based on "pre-emptive obedience" that the German Opera in Berlin decided to cancel its production of Mozart's Idomeneo after the managers decided that it might anger Muslims.
- In Spain, folkloric ceremonies and carnivals marking the expulsion of the Moors from Andalusia have been cancelled in all but a handful of villages, ending a 400-year old tradition.
- In most European countries, an official black of list of books has emerged, containing works deemed to be "hurtful to Muslim sentiments".11
It is time to awaken if one is asleep and for those who understand it is time to secure some courage and stand by the principles by which we live.
End Notes1. Morris, GS Don '"The Differences Among Us," posted http://www.PRIMER.org, Oct. 10,2006
2. The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
3. Apple's Mecca project provokes Muslim reaction, http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD131506 Oct. 11,2006
4. William Matthews, Saudi books aim to divide U.S. Muslims, infidels, Congress told, http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1232073.php, Nov. 20, 2005
5. 'Billions Spent by Saudi Royal Family to Spread Islam to Every Corner of the Earth', MEMRI, March 27, 2002.
6. Moshe Sharon, Agenda of Islam, referenced in The Differences Among Us.
7. Haim Harari, A VIEW FROM THE EYE OF THE STORM
8. Sergio I. Minerbi, Is it good for the West? Jerusalem Post, September 18, 2006
9. Moshe Sharon, Reviving the Caliphate, October, 2006
10. Robert Spencer, The Philosopher and the Fatwa, Front Page, Oct. 2, 2006
11. Amir Taheri, 'Pre-emptive obedience' at work, http://www.gulfnews.com/, Oct.12,2006
Special thank you to my editor-Chana Givon. See more at: http://docstalk.blogspot.com