The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


As if in response to my recent posts suggesting that Muslims—all Muslims—who have chosen to live in the West have a responsibility to (1) overtly reject radical Islamic theology and (2) begin to implement tangible actions that will uncover and identify radical Islamists in our midst, Max Fisher of ultra-progressive uses predictable name-calling and tenuous arguments to further the politically correct narrative that Muslims aren't really involved. Rather, it's unidentified fanatics who are prone to violence and murder (in the name of Islam) but otherwise disconnected from Islam. Fisher writes:
Here is what Muslims and Muslim organizations are expected to say: "As a Muslim, I condemn this attack and terrorism in any form."

This expectation we place on Muslims, to be absolutely clear, is Islamophobic and bigoted. The denunciation is a form of apology: an apology for Islam and for Muslims. The implication is that every Muslim is under suspicion of being sympathetic to terrorism unless he or she explicitly says otherwise. The implication is also that any crime committed by a Muslim is the responsibility of all Muslims simply by virtue of their shared religion.

This sort of thinking — blaming an entire group for the actions of a few individuals, assuming the worst about a person just because of their identity — is the very definition of bigotry. It is also, by the way, the very same logic that leads French non-Muslims, outraged by the Charlie Hebdo murders, to attack French mosques in hateful and misguided retaliation. And it's the same logic that led CNN host Don Lemon to ask Muslim-American human rights lawyer Arasalan Iftikhar if he supports ISIS, as if the simple fact of Iftikhar's religion — despite the fact that he is exactly the sort of liberal human rights activist whom ISIS hates most — made him suspect.

It is time for that ritual to end: non-Muslims in all countries, and today especially those in France, should finally take on the correct assumption that Muslims hate terrorism just as much as they do, and cease expecting Muslims to prove their innocence just because of their faith.

Bigoted assumptions are the only plausible reason for this ritual to exist, which means that maintaining the ritual is maintaining bigotry. Otherwise, we wouldn't expect Muslims to condemn the Charlie Hebdo attackers — who, if they spoke the truth in reportedly claiming to be from al-Qaeda's Yemen branch, belong to a group whose primary victims by far are fellow Muslims — any more than we would expect Christians to condemn Timothy McVeigh. Similarly, if someone blames all Jews for the act of, say, extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank, we immediately and correctly reject that position as prejudiced. We understand that such an accusation is hateful and wrong — but not when it is applied to Muslims.
This response is typical. If you raise issues that are certainly justified, given the recent carnage in France and elsewhere, you're at best an "islamophobe" and at worst a "bigot." Not to nit pick, but "a few individuals" murdered almost 3,000 civilians in our country less than 15 years ago, a few more "individuals" killed hundreds or thousand in places as diverse as Nigeria, England, Spain, Thailand, and Indonesian, not to mention the on-going carnage throughout the Arab word.  Again not be be picky, but most of this carnage is NOT conduced by a few lone wolfs but is coordinated, funded, and endorsed by radical Muslim groups worldwide. Mr. Fisher blithely forgets about all of this in his rush to be oh-so politically correct.

And again, not be be picky, but Christians did condemn Timothy McVeigh in very large numbers, and the "extremist settlers" on the West Bank who progressives love to hate are building apartment units, not committing unprovoked mass murder. But then again,  logic has never been the Left's strong suit.

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal brilliantly deconstructs arguments made by Fisher and dozens of other leftists:
Let’s begin by noting a curious contrast between Fisher and his boss, Ezra Klein, who in a piece responding to the Paris massacre urged a know-nothing approach to the attackers’ ideological motivations. The murders, he wrote, “can only be explained by the madness of the perpetrators, who did something horrible and evil that almost no human beings anywhere ever do, and the condemnation doesn’t need to be any more complex than saying unprovoked mass slaughter is wrong.”

How can one square Klein’s claim that there is no explanation save “madness” for the murders in Paris with Fisher’s that attacks on mosques—which are also horrible and evil, if lesser in degree—are the product of an inexorable “logic”? Fairly easily: by noting that both claims serve the same underlying argument, namely a denial that Islam is in any way implicated in the atrocities Muslims commit in its name. It’s like John Cleese in “Fawlty Towers,” albeit without the wit and humor: “Don’t mention Islam!”

We’re fairly certain neither Fisher nor Klein is Muslim, so that one can’t put this down to defensiveness over their own religious identity. But we’d venture that there is some tribal signaling going on here. The Voxen are asserting their antipathy toward the class of Americans and other Westerners—be they Christian, Jewish or neither of the above—who do not share their politically correct worldview.

Their anxiousness to shut down debate by rejecting certain viewpoints a priori may also reflect a fear that there is some truth to those viewpoints. If so, it is they who are displaying symptoms of phobia. Note also that Fisher, in tarring all “Islamophobes” by association with a violent few, is committing exactly the sort of slander of which he accuses them ...
Those-who-cannot-and-will-not-be-named (i.e., Muslim terrorists) are exemplars of "madness." Let's take that claim at face value. Doesn't it behoove everyone threatened by this "madness" and those with the best opportunity to identify "madness" to (1) renounce it and (2) work very hard to eliminate it from our midst.

But no ... the Kleins and Fishers of our world would rather turn their heads and hope it all goes away. Of course, they offer no solutions, only condemnation of those who state that more must be done by those whose religion/ideology has been hijacked.

Taranto goes on to discuss Fisher's claim that a request to condemn radical Islam is "bigoted." He writes:
Perhaps those [like yours truly] who profess [that the majority of Muslims are peaceful and moderate] do so uncertainly, hoping rather than firmly believing it is true. If so, they call on Muslims to speak out against terror because they would like real-world confirmation. That is not bigotry but open-mindedness.

Or maybe they are sure of their belief in the moderate Muslim majority and want confirmation for the benefit of others who may, with every terrorist attack, become more inclined toward rejection. That’s not bigotry either but anxiety over the possibility that anti-Muslim bigotry will become more widespread.

The charge of “Islamophobia” is no more well-founded. For the sake of argument, let us assume the moderate-majority hypothesis is true. Let’s make it a very large supermajority—say 99% of Muslims have no truck whatever with the violent few.

The world-wide Muslim population is estimated at 1.6 billion. If 99% of them are peaceful and moderate, that leaves a cadre of 16 million potential terrorists and sympathizers. As we saw in Paris—and as we’ve seen again and again over the years, in New York, Jerusalem, Madrid, London, Bombay, Sydney and many majority-Muslim countries—even a handful of violent jihadists are capable of wreaking enormous carnage and disruption.

To view that with trepidation and dread is not in the least phobic. It is entirely rational.
It's interesting that Taranto used exactly the same percentage for "angry" Muslims as I did in my last post, 1.6 Billion. The taxonomy that I identified in "1.6 Billion" should be explored so that we don't have to hope that most Muslims are peaceful and "moderate"—we'll have data to back it up. And we'll also have data to identify the threat that we all face.


As if to staunch the "madness" that has infected Islam, a heroic voice has risen in Egypt. Recall that Barack Obama championed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a seminal source of radical Islamist thought and a major contributor to the "madness." He exhibited either monumental ignorance or crass dishonesty when he claimed that the Brotherhood was "moderate." He later criticized the military coup that overthrew the Brotherhood.

Now, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (the leader of the coup) has spoken out. In a speech in Cairo he said:
We have to think hard about what we are facing . . . It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible! . . .

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible! . . .

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move . . . because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.
Late last year I suggested that Western leaders needed the courage to say similar words to 1.6 billion Muslims, but lamented that none, including Barack Obama, have the courage or will to do so.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has done so. As the leader of the largest Arab nation he advocates that Islam must change, that a "religious revolution" must occur. How about that! It's about time.

By the way, I wonder if Max Fisher would characterize Abdel Fattah al-Sisias an Islamophobe and a bigot. Heh.

UPDATE (01/11/2015):

After I watched the media's swooning coverage of "millions" marching in Paris in "solidarity" with the cartoonists of Charlie and the Kosher shop patrons murdered last week by Muslim "extremists," I encountered a few paragraphs written by Richard Fernandez. He wrote about a commenter who indicated that she had 'unfriended' a long time friend who had the temerity to suggest that Islam has some culpability in all of this. She responded that "The answer to terrorism is tolerance." Fernandez writes:
The enlightened author restated the standard liberal canon. Drink your anodyne and above all do nothing rash without instructions from the Great Leaders. From the State Dept’s Marie Harf, who says “we’re not jumping to conclusions” on which group is behind the Paris attack, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein who says “we need a moment of calm now. We do not need retaliation. Neither Islam nor multiculturalism in Europe is to blame for the bloody attack two mornings ago, as some right-wing political leaders have already begun to say”, the message is the same. Light candles, leave flowers, compose hashtags and march around in approved places but leave the thinking to Obama, Cameron and Hollande.
It's long past the time to stop marching "in solidarity" and start demanding change, much like Abdel Fattah al-Sisi did in Egypt. Change must occur in an religion/ideology that is spawning increasingly barbaric attacks on those who might disagree with its tenets.