Thursday, May 19, 2005

Why Islam is Disrespected

From Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe, some reactions to the fact that a bogus Newsweek story about American troops at Guantanamo flushing a copy of the Koran down a toilet led to riots in Muslim countries. At least 17 people were killed in those riots.
No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” – a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine – was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O’Connor, appearing on “Saturday Night Live,” ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.

There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph’s Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred.

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don’t lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers – “They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols” – was any reader surprised?
Our view is that deeply held religious convictions should be respected – and respected regardless of whether they are Christian, Jewish, Moslem or something else.

Which is why we can’t help but notice that the mainstream media have no problem demeaning conservative Christians – as the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential election showed.

But intellectual clarity on Islam is difficult, both on a university campus and in the precincts of the liberal mainstream media for the simple reason that Moslems now have, on the left, official victim status.

Before 9/11, Moslems were the backward people who oppressed women. Now, they are the righteous avengers of all the evils America has imposed on the third world.

On a campus like Marquette’s, Arab students can stage a hate fest directed against Israel and the Jews with the approval of the local Axis of Grievance – the Office of Student Development, the Campus Ministry, JUSTICE and Student Government.

Victim status, of course, is just as destructive when given to Arabs as it is when granted to blacks, Hispanics or American Indians. The sooner there is a hue and cry demanding that Moslems abide by the laws of morality that apply to every other religion, the better.

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