Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

There are a few soft voices in Arabia that are questioning the policy of preaching hatred.

"We have to confront a lot of things that we thought were normal," said Khaled M. Batarfi, the managing editor of Al Madina, a daily newspaper pushing the limits of what can be published. "We have to examine the opinions that resulted in these bad actions and see if they are wrong, or people just took them out of context." "Before Sept. 11, it was just an opinion, `I think we should hate the others,´ " he said. "After Sept. 11, we found out ourselves that some of those thoughts brought actions that hurt us, that put all Muslims on trial."

. "Wahhabism looks at every situation as black and white, there is no `in between,´ no gray area," said Mr. Awaji, who now works as a lawyer. "We have to be more open and more tolerant inside our sects. If we solve that within our sect, then we can be more tolerant than others." Mr. Awaji was among some 160 scholars and intellectuals who signed a manifesto this spring suggesting more dialogue with the West.

Update: You'll have to forgive me. Being away has put my daily reading behind quite a bit. I didn't read Jonah's take on this. Schooled in Archaeology and Middle Eastern Studies in college has given me a longer and more incrememntalist view of change. I don't expect the Wahabim to wake up tomorrow and say well we should start loving America and give up this dreadful anti-Semitism. It took two atomic bombs and millions of dead in Europe to to remove similar (and Europe's conversion lately is debatable) visions of pan-global domination.

While war may come to certain Arab (cough...Iraq....cough) countries we can no longer count on the kind of overwhelming defeat that we have seen in the past. And while that is a good thing, nobody (save certain extremists) wants to see millions dead and nuclear craters where once cities stood, we have yet to find a viable alternative. In the search for a third way (not appeasement and not all out war) we have gotten the gulags of the USSR, the killing fields of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia ad infinitum.

So in the meantime we look for changes. It took Rosa Parks to coalesce the Civil Rights movement. It took the a series of relatively small events to lead up to the explosion of the American Revolution (Boston Tea Party, Stamp Act, Boston Massacre). The Reformation started with Martin Luther nailing up the 95 Points. Similarly, I think we need to see the followers of Islam question, publicly, the more extreme teachings that are tolerated. Mr. Batarfi may be saying that he thinks this path has led to their being put on trial and Jonah interprets this to mean that he has no problem with the hatred it is just the consequences he dislikes. Well this may be true but it creates the opening for someone to step in and take him to task for supporting that hatred. It will take a series of such questions before there can be change.

That is why I find these things encouraging. Will this man's words change Islam overnight? No, but there needs to be debate. Those who say things like terrorism is good and suicide bombers are martys and heroes need to be debated. All Muslims need to see the weakness and untruth in this support. The media has to stop giving these people (and their apologists) the proponderance of coverage. Start putting reformers on with these people to debate. Everyone says we have not seen voices from the Muslim community denouncing Bin Laden and Terrorism. And it is true. Not because they are not there and haven't been talking. It is because they are rational and eloquent speakers that get their words buried deep in stories and papers they don't make the front page. CIAR and others like them are the ones that the media turn to.

< email | 7/17/2002 11:38:00 PM | link

<< Designed by Ryon

Western Civilization and Democracy Net Ring

The Western Civilization and Democracy Net Ring celebrates Western civilization and its universal values of individual freedom, political democracy and equal rights for all. All sites promoting human rights and democracy are welcome.

[Prev Site] [Stats] [Random] [Next 5 Sites] [List Sites] [Next Site]