Religious Practice Versus Imposition

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Earlier tonight an acquaintance said he had heard that during Ramadan in Dearborn, Michigan, there's a high school football team that does their football practice from 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. because some of the devout Muslim players can't eat or drink anything during the daylight. He said this without any judgment at all. It looked like he felt absolutely neutral about it.

I said, "in other words, the Muslims are imposing their practices on non-Muslims." I said it with a face that clearly displayed disapproval.

He was casually dismissive. "Well, other religions do crazy stuff too," he said.

I said, "they don't impose their stuff on me. Are there religious people who impose something on you? Or try to get you to grant a concession? Or try to make your values yield to theirs? To practice a religion is personal and private. If someone wants to go without food, what do I care? They can go right ahead. But when it impinges on people who are not members of the religion, that's no longer religious. It's political. So all the high school students who want to play football at that school have to practice in the middle of the night because Muslims are thrusting their Islamic practice into the non-Islamic public sphere. Those non-Muslim kids have to disrupt their normal sleep cycle because the Muslims won't bend and the non-Muslims will. And step by step, inch by inch, orthodox Muslims gain one concession after another as our tolerant culture yields to their intolerant culture. Is that okay with you? It's not okay with me."

I had to leave, but this brief conversation inserted an idea I got from Bill Warner. And my acquaintance looked like he heard something he had never even thought about. I wish I'd had time to explain to him that religious supremacism is the belief that a particular religion is superior to others and entitles members of the religion to control or dominate non-members. That's what these Muslim football players were doing.

But maybe it was better that I didn't go into any more detail. Sometimes less is better. Sometimes it's actually more effective to let things sink in a little at a time.

Given how many people are becoming aware of the disturbing nature of Islamic texts, these kinds of brief conversations must be taking place all over the free world. Let's keep it up. We should think in terms of small bits and long campaigns.

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Can We Stop This Creeping Jihad?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

CAIR executive director, Nihad Awad
The following is a letter by Edward Kesler, published on July 28, 2013 in the Reader's Forum of the Tribune Star.

Admittedly, Americans have enormous difficulty realizing that a religion, Islam, is a threat to our society. Perhaps untiring efforts to awaken the public is a fool’s errand. Most readers of any newspaper will not research this issue for themselves. Understanding the task is daunting. It may be useful to examine groups the media believes purportedly speak for Muslims in the U.S.

In the news recently is the Muslim Brotherhood. Some Americans realize the Brotherhood controlled the Egyptian government until the last few weeks. Fewer understand this is not a “political party” but a movement dedicated to world domination. Simply reading the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto should sound alarms for all of us.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 after the collapse of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. A primary goal was to re-establish a caliphate that could be extended worldwide. The founders, ardent admirers of Hitler, translated “Mein Kampf” into Arabic. The Muslim religious leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, spent many years in Germany supporting and observing death camp operations and planning the same for the Muslim world. Rommel’s defeat at El-Alamein ended the plan.

The Jihad (terrorist) group Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is the government of Gaza. In the United States the Brotherhood is the power and financing arm behind the Islamic Society of North America (headquartered in nearby Plainfield), the Muslim Students Association, the International Institute for Islamic Thought and many others.

Perhaps most notably, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, portrayed as a Muslim civil rights organization, is not only connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, but was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation money laundering case. The foundation was convicted of funneling money to Hamas to aid in the terror against Israel.

These are the “moderates” with whom this president’s administration and, to some extent, the previous two administrations, have attempted to coexist. In this administration, members of the Brotherhood and various other Islamist groups have made deep inroads into the halls of power.

Is it too late to stop the creeping social jihad being waged against us, even at the highest levels of our government?

— Edward Kesler, West Terre Haute

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ACT! for America Wins Victories

Saturday, July 20, 2013

If you haven't yet signed up for ACT! for America's email updates, it's time to do yourself the favor. Their updates are top quality, they often give you action alerts to let you know how to take a specific immediate action that will make a difference, and sometimes their reports include good news, like the one they sent out yesterday. Here's what it said:

This year, the governor of Oklahoma signed into law American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation.

The Alabama legislature passed ALAC and has sent it to the voters for approval in 2014 to add ALAC to the state constitution.

South Dakota passed the Free Speech Defense Act.

A school board in Northern Virginia rejected a charter school application from a group affiliated with the Islamist Gulen Movement.

A principal in Washington state removed a flawed, biased textbook from the school.

Kansas said "no" to sharia law and passed anti-Female Genital Mutilation legislation.

And ACT! for America helped make every one of these 2013 victories possible.

They have the largest national security grassroots citizen action network in the country, with over 260,000 members and 800 chapters, and growing.

They've got chapters now in other countries too: Argentina, Canada, Australia, Britain, India, Germany, etc. Sign up for their email updates here.

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No One Would Listen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Elie Wiesel speaking at NYU, April 2011
If you haven't read the powerful book, Night, by Elie Wiesel, you really should. It is his account of what happened to him during WWII. He was a young teen living in a small village in Hungary when, in 1942, the Hungarian police arrived to announce that all foreign Jews had to leave. The police loaded them all into trains and took them away.

The people in the town were disturbed, of course. It was a sad day. But after a few months, the memory began to fade, and life eventually returned to normal. They felt they were far enough removed from the war that it would end before it ever came to their remote village.

Then one day, one of those foreign Jews found his way back to the village. His name was Moishe. He was an old man, but the young Elie Wiesel had known him fairly well. Moishe had an extraordinary story to tell. He said when the trainload of Jews crossed the border into Polish territory, the Gestapo loaded them into trucks and took all the Jews into a forest where they were forced to dig huge trenches, and then they were all shot! Moishe himself was shot in the leg and left for dead. But he escaped and had been struggling to get back to the little village so he could warn people of what happened. He was urging everyone to flee; to get away before the Germans came.

He went "from one Jewish house to the next," wrote Elie Wiesel, "telling his story..." And he repeatedly and urgently told his story at the synagogue.

But nobody believed him.

They thought he must have lost his mind. Why would the Germans just kill Jews like that? Germany was a modern, industrialized, enlightened country. They wouldn't simply murder people so heartlessly and for no reason. Moishe must have lost his mind.

Moishe was insistent. He begged people to listen to him. He cried. He pleaded. But not one person believed him. They didn't want to believe him, and that's a formidable barrier to communication.

Our message — that what is written in Islamic texts is dangerous to non-Muslims — is also something many people do not want to believe. The implications are too heavy. The people of Elie's village didn't want to contemplate what it would mean if Moishe's story was true. It would mean tragedy and heartache and a loss of faith in humanity. It would mean a drastically different future for everyone. If they believed Moishe, the wise course of action would be to immediately pack up or sell everything they own and move somewhere they'd never been before. They'd have to start over. The journey would be fraught with uncertainty and danger. Most of them had lived their whole lives in that little village.

But they had another option, didn't they? They could explain away Moishe's terrifying story. They could decide there must be some other explanation.

That's what we run into also, isn't it? People are desperately trying to explain it away. If it's true that the doctrines of Islam are dangerous to non-Muslims, we should all drop what we're doing and address it. What's the point of going on about our lives, as they did in Elie's village, if it will all go terribly wrong in a few years? No, there would be no return to normal. If someone truly and fully grasps the real situation, they're in a whole new world, and the "important goals" they were busy trying to accomplish up until now would be abruptly abandoned in order to handle this new (and far more pressing) reality.

But they have another option, don't they? They can decide there must be some other explanation. You must not understand it correctly. You must be taking the Koranic passages out of context. Muslims who believe in Islamic doctrines must be a very small minority. There must be some other explanation.

I invite you to read Night and think about this: What would you have done if you were in Moishe's situation? Do you think you could have gotten someone to believe you? How would you get through to people? Or would you have given up, as Moishe did, and leave them all to their fate?

In 1944, the German Army arrived at Elie's village and immediately initiated new policies to limit freedoms for Jews. The noose closed in tighter and tighter, one policy at a time, until one day all the Jews of the village were imprisoned in a ghetto and ordered to board the transport trains. People were terrified. What did this mean? They were busy in Elie's house frantically packing up food for the trip when Moishe came up to the front door and shouted, "I warned you!" Then he turned and left without waiting for anyone to respond.

It was too late to do anything about it. They were transported to Auschwitz, and all of them suffered terrible, unbelievable physical and psychological torment. Most of them ended up dead.

If Moishe had been able to make people believe him, everyone in the village would have had plenty of time to flee.

Let's not repeat the same mistake. Let's get through. Not with force. Not with crying or pleading or intensity. Let's find out what allows our message to penetrate, and let's use it with ever-growing skill. If you need help, it is available here: Tools.

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They Oppressed the Wrong Woman

Friday, July 12, 2013

Waris Dirie
Waris Dirie was born in the desert of Somalia. Her family were Muslim nomads. When she was 13 years old, her father announced to her he'd found her a husband and she would soon be wed. Her "groom to be" was an old man. She protested and begged, but the old man had already paid her father, so the deal was done.

The next morning, before her father awoke, she ran away. She took off into the desert knowing only that somewhere was a city named Mogadishu and somewhere in that city she had an aunt. Amazingly, after a very difficult journey, she found her aunt and stayed with her a short time. Then one of her uncles became the Somalian ambassador to the UK and would be stationed in London. Waris begged her uncle to take her with him to be a maid. He consented.

She eventually became a fashion model whose face adorned the covers of many glamour magazines.

At one point in her career, Waris had been interviewed many times. The interviews were always about how a barefoot Somalian nomad became a famous model. But one day as another of these interviews was beginning, Waris took a bold step. She said the rags to riches story had already been told. "Would you like a real story?" she asked.

She told the interviewer about the day she experienced female genital mutilation (FGM), an ancient practice of removing a woman's clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora. Waris was then sewn up with a small hole for urination, which is usually how it's done. This procedure guarantees that she will be a virgin when she gets married, and it ensures she will not feel pleasure during sex (and thus helps prevent infidelity). A girl is not considered marriageable if she is "uncut" — she is considered no better than a whore, so parents make sure she undergoes FGM.

The interviewer was moved and shaken by Waris's story. And the magazine had the guts to print it. This was the beginning of an increasing global awareness of FGM and a movement to do away with it, in the same way that binding girl's feet was banned in China in the early 1900s. Already several countries have committed themselves to eradicating the practice.

Banning FGM would not only save millions of girls from the horror, pain, and death caused by this barbaric practice (it is done to 8,000 girls a day worldwide, with one out of four girls dying from the procedure), it would also help to marginalize, discredit, and disempower orthodox Islam.

The practice is over 4000 years old, and it was taken for granted during Muhammad's lifetime that all women underwent FGM, so he mentioned it a few times as a forgone conclusion, and his mention was written down, so it has now been enshrined in Islamic doctrine as an Islamic practice. Fundamentalists want it to continue because whatever Muhammad said is right for all time.

Banning the procedure would stop this orthodox practice, which would help disempower the fundamentalism itself. Everywhere we can prevent an orthodox practice, like covering women or beating them for disobedience or FGM, we weaken the forces of orthodoxy. If some Islamic fundamentals can be abandoned or seen as wrong, other fundamentals might be more easily abandoned as well.

I encourage you to help your friends and family become aware of FGM. You don't even have to mention the word "Islam." Read Waris's story in her excellent book, Desert Flower (written with Cathleen Miller). And then share the book with people you know. Talk it up. And watch National Geographic's movie by the same name and share that too. This is a way to help innocent girls, a way to pit humanistic empathy against Islamic domination, and a way to get people involved in marginalizing orthodox Islam — people who might never otherwise get involved. The Islamic oppression of women can and should be stopped. Let's start by saving the weakest and most innocent victims: Girls.

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A Country Without Muslims

Friday, July 5, 2013

The following article was written by Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.), an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam, Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements. He served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs. Watch a YouTube video of Dr. Kedar on Al-Jazeera: Jerusalem and Islam. The article below was originally published at Middle East and Terrorism. It was translated into English by Sally Zahav.

____________________

There are countries in the world, mainly in Europe, that are presently undergoing significant cultural transformations as a result of Muslim immigration. France, Germany, Belgium and Holland are interesting examples of cases where immigration from Muslim countries, together with the Muslims’ high fertility rate, effects every area of life.

It is interesting to know that there is a country in the world whose official and public approach to the Muslim matter is totally different. This country is Japan. This country keeps a very low profile on all levels regarding the Muslim matter: On the diplomatic level, senior political figures from Islamic countries almost never visit Japan, and Japanese leaders rarely visit Muslim countries. The relations with Muslim countries are based on concerns such as oil and gas, which Japan imports from some Muslim countries. The official policy of Japan is not to give citizenship to Muslims who come to Japan, and even permits for permanent residency are given sparingly to Muslims.

Japan forbids exhorting people to adopt the religion of Islam (Dawah), and any Muslim who actively encourages conversion to Islam is seen as proselytizing to a foreign and undesirable culture. Few academic institutions teach the Arabic language. It is very difficult to import books of the Qur’an to Japan, and Muslims who come to Japan are usually employees of foreign companies. In Japan there are very few mosques. The official policy of the Japanese authorities is to make every effort not to allow entry to Muslims, even if they are physicians, engineers and managers sent by foreign companies that are active in the region. Japanese society expects Muslim men to pray at home.

Japanese companies seeking foreign workers specifically note that they are not interested in Muslim workers. And any Muslim who does manage to enter Japan will find it very difficult  to rent an apartment. Anywhere a Muslim lives, the neighbors become uneasy. Japan forbids the establishment of Islamic organizations, so setting up Islamic institutions such as mosques and schools is almost impossible. In Tokyo there is only one imam.

In contrast with what is happening in Europe, very few Japanese are drawn to Islam. If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim, she will be considered an outcast by her social and familial environment. There is no application of Shari’a law in Japan. There is some food in Japan that is halal (kosher according to Islamic law) but it is not easy to find it in the supermarket.

The Japanese approach to Muslims is also evidenced by the numbers: in Japan there are 127 million residents, but only ten thousand Muslims, less than one hundredth of a percent. The number of Japanese who have converted is thought to be few. In Japan there are a few tens of thousands of foreign workers who are Muslim, mainly from Pakistan, who have managed to enter Japan as workers with construction companies. However, because of the negative attitude towards Islam they keep a low profile.

There are several reasons for this situation:

First, the Japanese tend to lump all Muslims together as fundamentalists who are unwilling to give up their traditional point of view and adopt modern ways of thinking and behavior. In Japan, Islam is perceived as a strange religion that any intelligent person should avoid.

Second, most Japanese have no religion, but behaviors connected with the Shinto religion along with elements of Buddhism are integrated into national customs. In Japan, religion is connected to the nationalist concept, and prejudices exist towards foreigners whether they are Chinese, Korean, Malaysian or Indonesian, and Westerners don’t escape this phenomenon either. There are those who call this a “developed sense of nationalism” and there are those who call this “racism.” It seems that neither of these is wrong.

And third, the Japanese dismiss the concept of monotheism and faith in an abstract god, because their world concept is apparently connected to the material, not to faith and emotions. It seems that they group Judaism together with Islam. Christianity exists in Japan and is not regarded negatively, apparently because the image of Jesus perceived in Japan is like the images of Buddha and Shinto.

The most interesting thing in Japan’s approach to Islam is the fact that the Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam. They make a clear distinction between their economic interest in resources of oil and gas from Muslim countries, which behooves Japan to maintain good relations with these countries on the one hand, and on the other hand, the Japanese nationalist viewpoints, which see Islam as something that is suitable for others, not for Japan, and therefore the Muslims must remain outside.

Because the Japanese have a gentle temperament and project serenity and tranquility toward foreigners, foreigners tend to relate to the Japanese with politeness and respect. A Japanese diplomat would never raise his voice or speak rudely in the presence of foreigners, therefore foreigners relate to the Japanese with respect, despite their racism and discrimination against Muslims in the matter of immigration. A Japanese official who is presented with an embarrassing question regarding the way the Japanese relate to Muslims, will usually refrain from answering, because he knows that a truthful answer would arouse anger, and he is both unable and unwilling to give an answer that is not true. He will smile but not answer, and if pressed, he will ask for time so that his superiors can answer, while he knows that this answer will never come.

Japan manages to remain a country almost without a Muslim presence because Japan’s negative attitude toward Islam and Muslims pervades every level of the population, from the man in the street to organizations and companies to senior officialdom. In Japan, contrary to the situation in other countries, there are no “human rights” organizations to offer support to Muslims’ claims against the government’s position. In Japan no one illegally smuggles Muslims into the country to earn a few yen, and almost no one gives them the legal support they would  need in order to get permits for temporary or permanent residency or citizenship.

Another thing that helps the Japanese keep Muslim immigration to their shores to a minimum is the Japanese attitude toward the employee and employment. Migrant workers are perceived negatively in Japan, because they take the place of Japanese workers. A Japanese employer feels obligated to employ Japanese workers even if it costs much more than it would to employ foreign workers. The traditional connection between an employee and employer in Japan is much stronger than in the West, and the employer and employee feel a mutual commitment to each other: An employer feels obligated to give his employee a livelihood, and the employee feels obligated to give the employer the fruit of his labor. This situation does not encourage the acceptance of foreign workers, whose commitment to the employers is low.

The fact that the public and the officials are united in their attitude against Muslim immigration has created a sort of iron wall around Japan that Muslims lack both the permission and the capability to overcome. This iron wall silences the world’s criticism of Japan in this matter, because the world understands that there is no point in criticizing the Japanese, since criticism will not convince them to open the gates of Japan to Muslim immigration.

Japan is teaching the whole world an interesting lesson: There is a direct correlation between national heritage and permission to immigrate — a people with a solid and clear national heritage and identity will not allow the unemployed of the world to enter its country; and a people whose cultural heritage and national identity is weak and fragile has no defense mechanisms to prevent a foreign culture from penetrating into its country and its land.

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How to Save the World With a Computer

Thursday, July 4, 2013

One of the best ways to marginalize, discredit and disempower orthodox Islam is to talk to your friends and family in person. But that's not the only thing you can do. Some good work can be done online to advance the cause.

The first thing I recommend to Americans is to sign up for the ACT! for America email alerts. They give you lots of opportunities to write letters, call, and apply pressure to politicians for anti-Sharia legislation. And they give you good articles to share with your friends and family. Many other countries have similar organizations, like the Q Society in Australia and ACT! for Canada.

Another good thing you can do with your computer is visit web sites or popular blogs or Facebook pages where the "Islam issue" is being discussed, and make persuasive arguments with courtesy and class, give good information, and provide links to more information. I'm not talking about counterjihad sites. I mean anywhere you find Islam being discussed where you could add to the discussion with some real information. You might even sign up for Google News Alerts with the search terms, "counterjihad" or "Islam means peace," and then jump into those conversations.

Another good way to inform people is to go to Yahoo Answers and watch for questions to come up that you can answer with good information about Islam, and make really good answers.

And also adding information to Wikipedia or even writing pages for Wikipedia.

Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia are often the first results on a Google or Bing search, so if you can get something there to answer questions when someone is searching, that's a great place to reach people. The result will be seen and you're providing the information at the perfect time: When someone wants to know.

The place where you will have the most impact is reaching people who are arguing in favor of Islam, or at least against counterjihadists. What we're trying to do (and where our impact will be greatest) is reaching those who don't already know that Islam is not a religion of peace.

It's tough work because sometimes people are hard to reach, but many times people have told me that they were at one time against counterjihadists and thought they had it all wrong but eventually something got through to them and they started investigating it for themselves, and that's the beginning. As soon as someone really starts looking into Islam, they will become counterjihadists, because the facts speak for themselves. Our job is to make the "undecideds" curious enough to see for themselves. This is best done in person. But a close second is what you can do online.

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