“Radical Islaaam” and Holocaust jokes

I’ve been attending a few of the Betar Tagar‘s “Know Radical Islam Week” events. Overall I think the way Betar is handling this is remarkably stupid. I don’t see anything constructive, at all, coming out of this event — if the aim is to start a dialogue with Muslims. There are very few Muslims at these lectures, indeed most of those attending seem to be Jewish.

Much of the content of the events is actually meaningful — at least, the lectures I’ve attended were — but the medium (“Radical Islaaam”) obscures the message. I’ve told them that a much better title would be “Extremism within Muslim society,” and they acted as if that were a novel idea (and don’t they wish I was in their planning committee) but I find it hard to believe that the issue of alternatively naming it didn’t come up.

How much more meaningful would it be if they had the MSA on board to condemn radicalism in Islam? Probably a lot more. I’ve spoken with several members of the MSA, including the President and the Academic Affairs Coordinator, they both told me that a) they were not calling for a boycott, and b) they were never consulted at any time throughout the organization of this event. Betar e-mailed certain members of the MSA in the days leading up to the events, though, to receive mixed messages that they touted as “cooperation.” From what I’ve heard, members of the Thaqalayn Muslim Association are also unhappy about the way things are being carried out.

The kinds of organizations that are on board? The UofT Objectivist Club, the Toronto Secular Alliance, Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum, etc. That really seems like a group dedicated to fostering meaningful discussion (I’m being sarcastic).

Moreover, how can you even begin to describe radicalism within Islam — a religion of over a billion — as some kind of hegemonic entity? It’s not. Different factors have contributed to the rise of radicalism in Islam in various regions of the world. Taking the historical and sociological context into consideration is tremendously important for any analysis. This is sorely lacking in Betar’s activities.

Anyway, today I attended one of Betar’s lectures given by Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Abu Toameh reports for the right-wing Jerusalem Post.

What he said, though, completely undercut the message that the Betar folks were trying to get across. It seemed to me that they were trying to depict “radical” Islam as somehow censoring the reporting of things in Palestine. Abu Toameh quite unequivocally stated, several times, that it was not Hamas and Islamic Jihad that censored journalists, nor would they, but it was the Palestinian Authority (run by the PLO — Arafat and Abu Mazen’s folks) every single time, and the West supported this.

That made me want to laugh and clap out loud.

He also talked about how Arafat was a big hypocrite, sitting in mosques while stealing billions meant for Palestinians.

Also, in a remarkably stupid move, Jyllands-Posten has apparently offered to publish cartoons that a remarkably stupid Iranian newspaper is aiming to publish that make fun of the Holocaust.

It’s stupid enough of the Iranians to want to do something messed up like this, and stupider still for the Danish to want to reprint those cartoons. How stupid do people get? I imagine we’ll see extremist agenda-driven Muslims torch the Iranian embassies in protest for printing such offensive cartoons? I think any decent and right-thinking human being would find it even more offensive to make fun of the deaths of six million people than to make fun of a prophet. I suggest all Danes engage in a meaningful boycott of Jyllands-Posten and demand that the editor be replaced with someone who is less remarkably stupid (and that’s the theme of my post).

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7 Responses so far

  1. 1

    p said,

    February 9, 2006 @ 6:39 am

    >>”I do not regret it,” Rose said. “I think it is
    >>like asking a rape victim if she regrets
    >>wearing a short skirt at a discotheque
    >>Friday night.

    >>”In that sense, in our culture, if you’re
    >>wearing a short skirt, that does not
    >>necessarily mean you invite everybody to
    >>have sex with you. As is the case with these
    >>cartoons, if you make a cartoon, make fun
    >>of religion, make fun of religious figures,
    >>that does not imply that you humiliate or
    >>denigrate or marginalize a religion.”

    I bet being raped by the collectively uncivilized, “traditional” Other who simply can’t comprehend mahaan values (such as the ones embodied in short skirts and polarized print media) sucks. After all these colonial and neo-colonial ra.. I mean, projects, you’d think they would have civilized us.. but we just never learn.

  2. 2

    fahad said,

    February 9, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    Unbelievable. It’s like a vicious cycle of worldwide idiocy. Though I do think Jyllands-Posten ought to publish those cartoons. That way, Denmark’s Anti-Semitic hate laws will kick in and legal action could be taken against them.

  3. 3

    Binish said,

    February 10, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

    …..and I quote ” I think any decent and right-thinking human being would find it even more offensive to make fun of the deaths of six million people than to make fun of a prophet. ”

    dude!!! you’re comparing apples and oranges! you can’t be serious? do you realize THE EXTENT of how S A C R E D the Prophet is?

    Declaration of Faith:
    La-ilaha-il’lal’laha-Mohamad’an-Rasul’Allah. There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.

    Now I don’t think I need to go into the details of it but its just as simple as this [basic psychology]: Lifting fingers on the Prophet = burn in eternal hell fire. We’re on earth, why? To live this life, a passage on earth, well, and go to heaven – hopefully. Divine laws are more important than human laws to Muslims. God = THE MAN; people = just people; Conclusion = don’t mess with god’s laws!!

    I’m just sitting here and thinking – wow! Not only because I hold Prophet Mohammad sacred to my heart, but also because I would not expect comparison of such a sort, ever ever ever. Its unacceptable.

    That’s my two cents worth!

  4. 4

    nomes said,

    February 10, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    No one killed/tortured/interred six million Muhammads, then made fun of that. Yes, the Danish made fun of Muhammad — maybe he was a prophet of a God. But at the base of it he was just a man, not a god or God, and that’s something he said himself.

    Now if you’re going to say, “Making fun of the systematic deaths of six million people isn’t as bad as insulting Muhammad,” then you’re doing a disservice to everyone.

    Including Muhammad.

    If Islam does indeed say that insulting Muhammad lasts you in hell-fire for eternity, then what does it say about the genocide of six million people? I assure you it doesn’t promise roses and peach juice.

  5. 5

    Binish said,

    February 11, 2006 @ 8:14 pm

    Noaman re-read what I wrote. Don’t put words in my mouth. I said you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    Neither equations lead to the milky straits of heaven. Or even to “justice” on earth.

    All that of course is – according to me.

    I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. But at the same time, the point is, most people who have a more sacred vision of Islam would find what you said insensitive. Just like most people who hold Islam dear to their hearts were offended by the cartoons.

  6. 6

    Binish said,

    February 11, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

    Which things do you hold sacred in your life?

    Which particular one is at the top of the list?

    How would you feel if this sacred object/value/etc were handled carelessly? Or damaged?

    That’s how I feel and those other Muslims that are offended by the cartoons. It’s as simple as that. Let’s not even get into the technical aspect of it. I just want you to realize the intensity of the word ‘sacred’. That is something you have to feel to understand.

  7. 7

    Seeker said,

    February 13, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

    Hey Noaman I meant to reply to this when I first read it but it somehow slipped through the cracks.

    Anyhow, I haven’t been attending any of the Know Radical Islam/Apartheid Week events this year both because I am intentionally avoiding them and because I’m just too busy. That said, I agree that an event that is more conducive to dialogue — namely one sponsored by both Jewish and Muslim groups on campus would be preferable to these two weeks. Interestingly, I criticized last years Apartheid Week for that very reason (http://www.thesearchison.com/2005/01/being-jewish-in-january.html and http://www.thesearchison.com/2005/02/israel-festarab-student-collective.html)

    I’m not posting for the purposes of tooting my own horn or anything, but just because I think that its funny how things tend to repeat themselves.

    All that said, I do admire all those that organized these events for the passion that they bring to promoting their views and beliefs — whether or not I agree with these views.

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