I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Racheting Up the Holy War

If you don't think that the Right wingnutterati is itching for an open declaration of holy war between the West and Islam, check out Michelle Malkin's gleeful celebration of "A Manifesto Against Islamism." This short document by a dozen so-called "intellectuals" takes the rhetoric out of the closet and decides to openly declare that the problem isn't with a number of radical, violent extremists, but with the entire concept of their religion and society. Check out the following passage from the declaration of war:
Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
Did you catch that part? You see, we're not trying to destroy their religion. We're trying to save them from their religion!

Look, I'm no fan of many aspects of the lifestyle practiced by many traditional Muslims. It's confusing to me and, I imagine, to many people brought up in Western cultures. This particularly applies to the way women are treated. Demanding that females cover themselves from head to foot in obscuring garments, never go outside unless escorted by their husbands, brothers or fathers, restricting access to education... these things are all antithetical to those of us who grew up in free, open societies.

I received a rather telling lesson, however, a few years ago while working with a contractor who had moved here from Pakistan and who was a devout, traditional Muslim. He was a nice guy and quite sharp at his job. About a year after he began working with us, he announced that he was getting married. When we asked who the lucky lady was, he informed us that he didn't know yet - his mother was selecting candidates. Some months later, sure enough, he flew back home and married a woman who he'd never even heard of until he met her in his mother's living room. He brought her back here to live with him in the United States.

Some of the women I work with got a chance to meet her at a lunch one day. This was a rare event, as it seems she hardly ever went out, and was always covered in full dress. She began telling some of the women about the difficulty she and her husband were encountering with her pregnancy (which we didn't even know about) because they were having and extremely hard time finding a doctor for her who would be "acceptable" for them. The doctor would have to be a female, and if at all possible, a Muslim. In Upstate New York, that's no easy feat. She was missing out on what would normally be considered vital, mandatory pre-natal care because her husband couldn't find a doctor who could be allowed to see her in a state of undress.

Two of the women told me that they had determined that something had to be done and she needed to have her eyes opened up. They decided to ask our friend if they could pop in to visit his wife during the day for tea and he agreed. When they returned, they told us the results of their efforts to "Americanize" and "liberate" this woman. With a shocked look on their faces, they informed us that our friend's wife had taken great offense at their suggestions and wound up asking them to leave. She told them to "mind their own business" and warned them strongly not to judge her or her husband's life and beliefs. From a Western perspective, she clearly seemed to be oppressed, possibly even in physical danger because of it. To her way of thinking, she was following the laws of her God and her society and resented any intrusions attempting to "correct" the situation.

We may not approve of many things about the way Muslims conduct their personal lives, and I still believe that every person who comes to America, particularly women and minorities, should be made aware of the opportunities they have in our culture. But apparently we also need to remember that, once offered, such freedoms can't be forced down somebody's throat. Before we declare war on Islam in order to "save these people from their religion" we may want to get their opinions on whether or not they wish to be saved first.

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