Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Turning the Other Cheek

Since I am rather fond of the location of my head at the present time, which is to say firmly attached to the rest of my body, I am going to refrain from pontificating excessively on the present Papal fiasco. Rather, I will just serve up a few items for your thoughtful perusal.

First of all, we have Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah's Toronto Star editorial, Outrage and Understanding. They suggest that the 'greater jihad' would be to turn the other cheek - a sentiment with which I totally agree. (It almost sounds like something Jesus would have said.)

Now I could take something out of context here and take issue with the fact that they quoted a philosophy lecturer at Wadham College as saying that "... it's born-again Christians who have been at the forefront of support for the invasion of Iraq, the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel, and the whole `reorganization' of the Middle East — a catastrophe in which many thousands of Muslims have lost their lives."

But I won't. I shall turn the other cheek.

We also have two totally opposite points of view presented in today's Record. The first is an opinion piece by journalist Gwynne Dyer, "The Pope and Islam - Comments reflect papal intolerance."

I found this bit quite interesting:

Benedict needs a few lessons in manners, but the real reason for the uproar is that so many Muslims feel under attack by the West. Two Muslim countries have been invaded by the United States and its allies since 9/11, and another, Lebanon, has been bombed by Israel with full support from the United States and Britain.

At least 20 times as many Muslims have died in these brutal wars as the number of Americans who died in the 9/11 attacks, and almost none of them had anything to do with that terrorist atrocity.

Dyer has got to be one of Jack Layton's favourite columnists.

On the other hand, we have James A. Diamond suggesting that we consider the Pope's speech in its entirety - "Benedict's Message was one of Hope and Reason".

If we allow intimidation and threats of violence to determine the outcome of debates rather than cogency and reason then we have surrendered the core values of our liberal democracy.

As I see it, one of the problems with the Muslim faith is the blur between religion and politics. I really don't see a separation. I know the Pope has been accused of poking his nose in our affairs too, but I haven't seen him threaten to blow up Parliament yet. So we are free to ignore him if we wish, with little fear for our safety and democracy.

Although many Muslim clerics are asking that protests be peaceful, according to CTV Iraqi extremists are saying, "We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the 'jizya' tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (being killed by) the sword."

One of my blog readers asked a short time ago who was in charge in the Muslim-Islam world, the way the Pope is regarding Roman Catholicism. I said I have no idea. Does anyone?

Technical note: Having some issues with links here.

For the Dyer and Diamond op-eds, just go to the Record, click on Opinions, and then Insight, while I try to figure this out. Thanks!

Lots of links at Lifesite. Full text of the Pope's speech and lots of other info here.

More from Jonathan Kay at the National Post (Why we're losing). H/T to Gay and Right.


Sara said...

nicely put Jo, I like the comment of if we give in to violence and threats nothing will be done. That goes for both sides of the religion...

do me a favor keep an eye on the brockvill times for me they interviewed me yesterday, I'm at a friends today waiting for my meeting at 3

Cherniak_WTF said...

Joanne, Dyer is one of my favourite journalist - why? Because he's smart and right.

The quote you cite just tells it like it is. Muslims feel attacked and are reacting that way.
Since 9/11 and the war on terror, we have created many more enemies.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sara, this is your big day, isn't it!

Wow, good luck. I'll try to watch for news from the Times. Thanks for the tip.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Joanne, Dyer is one of my favourite journalist - why? Because he's smart and right.



(Sound of Joanne hitting head against the wall)

Cherniak_WTF said...

Apart from the sound effects, in what way to you disagree with Dyer's analysis?

Red Tory said...

Joanne –- Just as the Pope is not the leader of all Christians, there is no single leader of Muslims. In fact, there are over 40 Ayatollas. Don’t forget there numerous different sects within the religion of Islam.

By the way, you can chortle all you want at what Dyer said, but there’s a lot of truth to it. The feeling exists and is real whether you feel that it’s legitimate or not.

Nicole said...

Hey Joanne!
I changed my password and actually figured out some stuff on my own. I changed up my links a little as to what Sara did..hehehe..
you'll have to see what I added to her, all in teasing. It's called payback.
{I'll change it...just don't tell her :-D}

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hey Nicole - Good for you! I haven't checked it out yet, but at least you won't be at the mercy of that evil Sara again! ;)

BTW, is anyone else having problems with links in posts today? It is driving me crazy!!!

I know Blogger has been having issues again, but not sure if it's related to links.

jeff davidson said...

As I see it, one of the problems with the Muslim faith is the blur between religion and politics. I really don't see a separation.

that's a dangerous assumption pushed by those who would have us believe all muslims are terrorists. surely you must know a few muslims yourself joanne?
the majority of western muslims are quite secular and can certinly separate their church from the state.
the pope speaks for catholics btw, no one else. oh, and rather poorly at that.
it may be hard for you to accept dyer's assertion that muslims feel under attack but if you're fair with yourself and think about it from their perspective , you may see why many muslims feel threatened.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

that's a dangerous assumption pushed by those who would have us believe all muslims are terrorists.

Jeff, I never said that. You are correct that Muslims that live in Western society have learned to live under the law of the country in which they reside, for the most part.

However, in countries such as Iran things looks a bit more murky to me.

Joanne (True Blue) said...



liberal supporter said...

In my view, while the Pope does not speak for all Christians, definitely not for me, he is certainly by far the best known Christian leader. That's why I was asking who is the Muslim leader we should take as speaking for Islam, in the broadest sense. "In the broadest sense" means things that go beyone shia-sunni divisions, just as the Pope can speak of things that go beyond the differences between Roman Catholicism and the rest of Christianity.

Let me spout off without bothering to check sources and the links you gave, I'm just presenting an idea. I am basing it on an assumption that the Pope has a lot of wisdom to offer.

I think the Pope's message may have been one about ignorance. He cites a medieval text, which raises fears about Islam because of some of what its holy books say, and because of past actions taken in its name. I think that text uses the kind of rhetorical devices (invoking a monarch among others) that often gets people to believe something based on a "logical" argument without a lot of actual basis in fact.

Our own ignorance during our middle ages was not illuminating. And during our middle ages, our own faith was very much involved in the politics of the day.

So today, we see ignorance of Christianity among Muslims, which is being exploited by demagogues and extremists in the Islamic world. There is a lot of baggage in our past. We can easily shrug off the fact that the Pope was formerly the cardinal responsible for the modern version of the Inquisition. How do other faiths see this?

We know that we're not like that anymore. But how is someone outside our faith supposed to know that? Especially when we have pundits within our own faith who say all our problems come from the fact that are not like that anymore.

We read the hatchet jobs on Islam put out by various groups we might call Christian fundamentalists. How much of it do we end up believing, due to our own ignorance of Islam?

Ignorance on both sides is a big part of the problem. And it is very difficult to see the merits of other points of view since we so easily forget our own context and cultural assumptions.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well said, L.S. I appreciate how you explained your question about if there is one Muslim leader who speaks for Islam. I find it so confusing to hear different opinions from various Muslim leaders.

Also, I think you are saying that we all have our own world view based on our past, our own indoctrinated teachings, and our ability to objectively integrate and analyze new information.

I am fully aware that no one religion is without fault.

We need to try to be open to understand one another. The difficulty lies with the fact that some members of some religions would rather force conversion than to try convince by words. I suppose this has always been the case and always will. The only problem is that the methods of doing so are becoming increasingly dangerous and prevalent.

PGP said...

In all of the articles you point to there is a common thread based on the assumption that there is an underlying "Christian" intent to attack the faith of Islam. Or that these Muslims are somehow victims of the Western World.

This is used by the MSM and by Islamofascists as fuel for the fires that they seek to fan.

As for those two in the Star article they fall into the position that their "Faith was Ridiculed" by Benedicts comments. Not so!
The Historical facts of their faith and it's promotion of violence was observed by a 7 century old writing.
The mere fact that this was pointed out was determined to be inflammatory first by the media and secondly by the Islamist thugs. As usual the leftosphere is quick to attack the Pope who is merely the messenger while failing to observe the blatant dishonesty of both the MSM and the Islamists.

The Islamists continue to deny the facts of their own history both recent and ancient. While the extremists continue to use any question or criticism of their behaviour as an excuse to behave like thugs and inflict violence on anyone they object to, the so called moderates still refuse to condemn the ignorance and violence.

All of this serves to prove the truth of the Popes observations.

It also reinforces my opinion that Islam is a religion that will either reform to accept the realities of the world or go down in a cataclism of useless conflagration. The outcome wil not be decided by the hardcore Islamofascists but rather by these so called moderates!
So far it seems to me that the moderates are either too spineless to renounce the violence or or too prone to play the vicitim.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The feeling exists and is real whether you feel that it’s legitimate or not.

Perhaps you and Cherniak can articulate exactly who are the two countries that have been "invaded"? If the answer is Iraq and Afghanistan, I don't believe that actual countries were invaded, but rather that the terrorist factions within the countries were attacked. I feel that Dyer's POV is somewhat disingenuous.

But, yes, no doubt many people have a different view.

Red Tory said...

Joanne -- If the answer is Iraq and Afghanistan, I don't believe that actual countries were invaded, but rather that the terrorist factions within the countries were attacked.

This seems like splitting hairs to me.

What was the "terrorist faction" in Iraq by the way? Saddam Hussein and the Baathist Party?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

What was the "terrorist faction" in Iraq by the way? Those who seek to destroy freedom and democracy.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete."

-Wafa Sultan

Cherniak_WTF said...

Those who seek to destroy freedom and democracy.

Nice soudbyte - easy to understand but utterly meaningless don't you think?

vicki said...

Re Dyer's comment "at least 20 times as many Muslims have died"
How much of that figure has been augmented by suicide bombers killing nationals in their own neighborhood?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Excellent point, Vicki!

Red Tory said...

Joanne -- Those who seek to destroy freedom and democracy.

LOL. What a thoroughly disingenous answer.

I'll ask again, who were these mysterious "terrorist factions" in Iraq prior to the invasion?

I hear these "factions" actually do exist in Indonesia. Or Sri Lanka, for that matter. Should the U.S. start bombing the crap out of them? You know, not attacking a sovereign nation, but just the "factions". Oh, there might be a little collateral damage here and there, but nobody ever said the price of freedom is cheap.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

What's your point, Red?

Red Tory said...

If I have to re-cap, then obviously you don't care.