Muslims are not Juvenile Delinquents

I am getting tired of watching my fellow Muslims around the world treated like juvenile delinquents. And I am getting tired of watching my fellow Muslims around the world behave like juvenile delinquents.

So a nut down in Florida – a certain Pastor Terry Jones, leader of a tiny church boasting a grand total of 50 members — decides to burn copies of the Qur’an to “commemorate” September 11th. He says that he wants to send a message to his fellow Americans that “Islam is of the Devil” (which also happens to be the title of his polemic anti-Islam pamphlet). The news, of course, gets picked up by the Blogosphere, then duly by the mainstream media, and shortly after by extremists and opportunists in the Muslim world. The result: massive crowds are incited to take to the fabulously fabled Angry Arab and Muslim street to condemn the desecration of the Holy Book.

The predictability of the reaction in the Muslim world to such infantile provocation is depressing. In fact, the surest way to cause death and injury to scores of Muslims without firing a single shot, letting them do all the handy work by themselves, is to disrespect their religion. Draw a cartoon of the Prophet (and it does not even have to be unflattering) or threaten to desecrate the Holy book, and your job is done. In countries where gatherings are strictly controlled or outright prohibited, massive demonstrations to denounce the “Evil West” are not only tolerated, but organized and encouraged by the many shades of dictatorship that rule with an iron hand most of the Muslim world today.

Of course, such reliable, near absolute determinism is always useful to those with designs and schemes to manipulate. Politicians love nothing more than a trusty bag of tricks, and this one is as trusty a trick as any that have ever been devised by mortal man.

But living trapped in societies dominated by stifling authorities, where consequential free expression — expression that leads to organization and fruitful civil and political action, as opposed to the meaningless “free expression” one finds in Egypt, or Algeria, or Morocco, or Jordan, to name the ones who tolerate any form of “expression” — does not exist, most of my fellow Muslims simply cannot comprehend that in the United States, people are free to act and say almost whatever they please, as long as they don’t violate the law. They cannot fully conceive of the basic fact that in a free and open society, a million things happen every day that are completely out of the control of any central authority, civilian, military, or religious. In such a society, someone somewhere will do something that will anger, insult, demean, and debase someone else. But what is important is not what happens, but who picks it up, what they with it, what they highlight, and the timing they pick to stoke up the fires. And even more important, is what the victims do to defend themselves.

In this case, the pastor’s stunt dove-tailed nicely for some with the row over the Islamic Center in downtown Manhattan, which, itself, had quickened the appetite of Republicans smelling blood in the waters of the mid-term elections of 2010. Muslims had a right to build their center wherever they pleased, insisted President Obama in his initial response, but then furiously back-paddled when his detractors — predictably enough — attacked him for such “cold insensitivity” to the victims of 9/11. Somewhat as predictably, sadly enough, the President then “clarified” his statement and qualified his assertions by suggesting that, perhaps, the Islamic Center should be moved a little further away from the site of the Twin Towers, to “show respect” to the victims and their families.

Enter Pastor Terry Jones and “Burn the Qur’an” day, and now the unsavory likes of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and the whole Republican establishment, make their move, and put forward an offer they are certain the American people can’t resist. Pastor Jones should desist and call off burning the Qur’an, and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man leading the Islamic Center project, should desist and call off building the Center. What could be fairer than that?

And here is where the juvenile part comes in. First, rather than condemn the Pastor purely for the dastardly nature of his act (now that the story was out of control and had gotten to the front pages), President Obama instead condemned the action on grounds that it would incite Muslims to violence against American soldiers around the world. That Muslims would riot and go bonkers was, in essence, taken for granted, not subject to a second thought. In other words, Muslims are juveniles, so we had better not provoke them.

By the same token, rather than insist that Muslims have an absolute right to build their places of worship wherever they legally can build them, and that Islam the religion, faith, and tradition, has NOTHING to do with 9/11, and that asking Muslims to move their house of worship away from Ground Zero is akin to asking Germans not to speak German when they are in Israel, Imam Abdul Rauf instead argued that moving the Center would provide the extremists in the Muslim world with yet another proof that Islam is under assault in the United States. In other words, Muslims are juvenile and we had better not provoke them.

My fellow Muslims: Islam is not under assault in the United States. This country is far from perfect, and minorities of all sorts continue to struggle daily for their rights. And to be sure, the type of abusive language and imagery tolerated against Arabs and Muslims would ignite firestorms with swift and concrete consequences if they were leveled against any other minority. But know this: Arabs and Muslims, like all minorities here, do have the democratic space they need to struggle peacefully for their rights. None of the gains made by any of the other minorities have came easy, and Arabs and Muslims will not to be the exception. The responsibility is on our shoulder to engage in a constant struggle to educate and enlighten our fellow citizens. The task is long-drawn and arduous, but the friends and allies we can count on our side in this struggle far surpass in numbers our detractors. When you hear or read someone in the so-called “West” attack “Islam,” remember that they are just “someone” and they don’t embody the whole “West”. The best reaction that you can have against such a “someone” is to ignore them. Let them be and they will vanish. Frothing with rage against them does absolutely nothing but reinforce the dehumanizing stereotype they are bent on promoting against you and revitalizes them.

Enough of being played and manipulated by crass opportunists and extremists from all sides. They have their plans, and their plans do not include your welfare and prosperity. It is time we entered adulthood.

Ahmed Bouzid wrote The Media Playbook: A handbook for media activism and criticism on Palestine-Israel, published by Dakota Press Publications, March 2003. He can be reached at: ahmed.bouzid@gmail.com. Read other articles by Ahmed, or visit Ahmed's website.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Rehmat said on September 21st, 2010 at 11:16am #

    “The global war on terror cannot be won through counterterrorism alone…The immediate war goal must be to destroy militant Islam and the ultimate war goal the modernization of Islam,” – Dr. Daniel Pipes, the famous anti-Islam Jewish expert on Islam, writing in The Jerusalem Post, April 6, 2004.

    The term “radical” has been applied to many people, who were considered threat to western colonization, such as Nelson Mandela, Rev. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Sayyid Qutb, Dr. Ali Shari’ati (the Shia Qutb), Sayyid Maududi, Imam Khomeini, and others. However, now this term is being associated with any Muslim who dare to criticize foreign powers occupying tradionally Muslim lands espectially the Zionist regime in Jewish occupied Palestine. The western historians never called Nazis as “Judeo-Christian radicals” or IRA as “Catholic radicals” or the Jewish terrorist groups which killed tens of thousands of Palestinian natives – as “Jew radicals”.

    Historically, many of Biblical prophets were “radicals” for challenging the status quo and taught against the corrupt and racist ruling classes – such as Abraham, Lot, Moses, Jesus – and of course the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who became “the living example of progressive, emancipatory radicalism,” – as decribed by Michael Hart in his book, ‘The 100″.

    The western governments, Jewish lobby groups and Christian Zionist organizations are investing hundreds of millions dollars each year to find and project the so-called “moderate Muslims”; fund Islamophobe intellectuals and dozens of anti-Islam think tanks (Rand, Ford Foundation, Asia Foundation, etc.), and the Jewish-controlled mass-media of course. Interestingly, to be a “moderate Muslim” too, has some limitations.

    For example, Dr. Tariq Ramadan 46, found it the hard way in 2004 when he was declared as threat to “the US security” for criticizing his fellow Jewish ‘liberal intellectuals’, Dr. Bernard Lewis, Dr. Bernard-Henry Levy, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and Dr. Bernard Kouchner – for defending Israel, right or wrong. The Geneva-born Tariq is the maternal grandson of the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Imam Hasan al-Bana (martyred in 1948). The “moderate Muslim” was on his way to take-up his teaching appointment at the University of Notre Dam (Indiana), begining August 25, 2004. Tariq Ramadan used to be a darling of Jewish media for saying: “The 7th century Medina model of Islamic State is not only a dream. It is a lie.” Tariq also consider Shari’ah’s capital punishments as “inhumane”! Tariq’s other distorted views of Islam can be read in the interview he gave to Rosemary Bechler, Open Democracy, July 14, 2004.

    Dr. Tariq Ramadan also maintained a distance from his elder brother, Hani Ramadan, a French school teacher, who is known for his so-called “radical” Islamic views. Hani wrote an article in the major French newspaper, Le Monde, to explain why Islam has such a zero tolerance for adultery and that it followed the Jewish biblical punishments of stoning to death a woman found guilty of committing adultery, for which Hani was suspended for teaching in the school.

    Islam clearly prohibits a ‘pre-planned’ violence against civilians and acts of terror. However, terrorism and radicalism are two completely different things. It all depends who is using these terms. For the foreign occupiers of Muslim lands – all resistance to their occupation is considered as terrorism. Similarly, every Muslim who is proud to be following the Islamic Shari’ah (which doesn’t divide Islam into two independent spheres, one for the mosque and the other for the State – as is the case in Judaism and Christianity), is labeled as a “radical” or “terrorist” or “Jihadi”.

    Islam is the religion of “the middle way” – “Thus have We made you an Ummah of the middle way, that ye might be witness over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourself,” – Holy Qur’an 2:143. However, Islamic message do challenges the institutionalized injustices, inhumanity, immorality, greed, and other evils in the world by establishing a new social order built on bonds of ethics, justice and trust. Islam rejects all forms of racism, caste system, all forms of oppression, usury, abuse of laws for the ‘chosen ones’ and dehumanization of man on the basis of colour, nationality and religion. All these principles are considered “radical”, especially in the societies controlled by the Zionist-controlled-governments (ZOG).

    So, in conclusion, the next time some jerk call you “a radical Muslim”; don’t apologize, be proud.

    There can never be peace in the world without justice. Everyone, including Muslims, need justice. But justice cannot be achieved without effort, both intellectual and physical. It involves challenging the power of the corrupt and greedy world elites, who do see Islam as a “radical” threat to their political, economic and cultural domination.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/nothing-wrong-being-a-radical-muslim/

  2. catguy00 said on September 21st, 2010 at 7:46pm #

    I believe he was in New York earlier this year.

    “Jew controlled” ACLU fought against the ban. ;)

  3. John Andrews said on September 21st, 2010 at 11:04pm #

    The only problem I had with Mr Jones’ publicity stunt was that he hadn’t got enough ‘holy’ books. He should have got them all and put a match to them. ALL religion is founded on deception at best, and outright lies at worst. No one has ever proven that god or gods actually exist – therefore ALL orthodox religions are fake.

  4. Rehmat said on September 22nd, 2010 at 4:25am #

    John Andrews – Several Popes did fulfilled your wish in the past – but the evil now controls more the West than the East.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/the-holy-vengeance/

  5. mary said on September 22nd, 2010 at 5:15am #

    Please do no mention that word Pope! I am poped out after four days of live coverage of every event with the hideous Popemobile featuring with its rising chair, with multiple TV cameras and reporters and even helicopters flying over the massive convoy of vehicles as he was carted around. (Carbon footprint? What carbon footprint?) Babies were taken out of the crowd to be blessed through the window of the Popemobile and mumbo jumbo and beatification ceremonies took place with both the BBC and Sky News vying for the most coverage and screen hours.

    All this at a cost of £12 million to the state when we are supposed to be up the spout. PM Cameron, the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others fawned around him.

    He even met his friend the Chief Rabbi!
    http://www.daylife.com/photo/08AHcC68UX2L7

    After he returned to Rome, I read of a scandal about a Vatican chorister procuring men for others within the Vatican and of a financial scandal where 23 million euros have disappeared from the Vatican bank.

    Thankfully there were massive street protests whereever he went about the abuse of children by Catholic priests, the role of women in the church, the forbidding of the use of contraceptives while the world population soars and the attitude to LGBT people.

  6. Don Hawkins said on September 22nd, 2010 at 6:30am #

    Procuring men for others within the Vatican and of a financial scandal where 23 million euros have disappeared from the Vatican bank.

    23 million euros wow a lot of money God’s work big buck’s and if I had 23 million euros maybe start a coffee shop put Einstein on the wall with Hansen, Plato and on and on and then get a little building and try and find the best scientists, engineers for new energy sources oh a nonprofit while sharing information with the World don’t take me seriously DB I see why. Would I fly around in a jet and live in a big house go on TV no I would work in the coffee shop and listen to good music and talk with people maybe even play a game of checkers from time to time.