June 3, 2009

The War with Islam

President Barack Obama will be delivering a major speech in Cairo this week. In his speech, he is expected to reach out to what he calls the Muslim world, to dispel misapprehensions about America, and to promise respect and understanding from what he does not consider as a Christian nation. The inconsistency in the nomenclature apart, I have no problem with his targeting a specific religious group for outreach. After all, speech, dialogue, and debate are the hallmarks of civilization in addressing conflicts, not beheading, bomb, and acid attacks on young girls who refuse to be submissive. I hope, though, he doesn't repeat the incredible declaration that he made when addressing the Turkish Parliament last month:

I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds the United States and Turkey has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. So let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam. [emphasis mine]

I beg to disagree, Mr. President. The United States is at war with Islam. To be more precise, the humanity is at war with Islam. It cannot afford not to be.

I am not talking about the battles that are fought between Muslims and non-Muslims across the world. In Afghanistan, Chechnya, Gaza, Indonesia, Kashmir, Philippines, Thailand... Not the battles in which silent drones drop bombs on unsuspecting women and children who have no option but to submit to Islam. Not the ones in which commuters in trains, guests in hotels, and office goers in high-rise building are blown to smithereens with the push of a button. These battles may end when dictators are overthrown, when borders between nations are redrawn, or when a new member or two are admitted into the United Nations.

I am talking about a deeper war, a war that is waged in the classrooms, the courts, and the town halls in civil societies. Not with weapons of mass destruction, but with books, blogs, microphones, and cameras. A war on ideas that are antiquated and plain wrong. For, that's what Islam is. A collection of ideas, espoused and codified by a man who lived and died eons ago.

Islam is a system of beliefs and values that it declares as eternal and beyond challenge. It lays down prescriptions and proscriptions that seek to control every thought and deed of every human being. It provides for cruel and unusual punishment for even minor transgressions and deviations from the code of conduct it had laid down centuries ago. It promises death to anyone who dares to criticize or renounce these ideas. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote:

By declaring our Prophet infallible and not permitting ourselves to question him, we Muslims had set up static tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad attempted to legislate every aspect of life. By adhering to his rules of what is permitted and what is forbidden, we Muslims suppressed freedom to think for ourselves and to act as we chose. We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mindset of the Arab desert in the seventh century. We were not just servants of Allah, we were slaves.
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Infidel, New York: Free Press, 2007, pp:271-272.

Worse, Islam seeks to divide the world — into believers and non-believers, monotheists and polytheists, idolaters and non-idolaters, men and women, pure and impure — and discriminates against those whom it considers as less than human. The religion imposes a hierarchy of rights and obligations on everyone who voluntarily or involuntarily submits to its rule. Not unlike Apartheid and Nazism. Would you have forsworn war on these hateful ideologies, too, Mr. President?

Admittedly, few religions, if any, can escape blame for being divisive and oppressive. Just a couple of days ago, here in this bastion of liberty and equality, a mad man decided to murder a doctor who dared to respect a woman's right to choose. Caste continues to be the bane of Hinduism in India, often resulting in tragic deaths of young men and women who dared to love across the religious barriers.

There is an important difference, though. There is no Hindu Republic where the Laws of Manu are the laws of the land. As President Obama had correctly observed during his recent visit to Turkey, we are not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the law here. There is no Organization of Buddhist Cultures, nor is there an Organization of Christian Countries, but there is an Organization of Islamic Conference, and it's not merely a Happy Friday get-together either.

The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam [1990] is a declaration of the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, that institutionalizes the blatantly discriminatory and oppressive laws of Sharia. Today, the so-called United Nations Human Rights Council seeks to extend this slavery to Islam to every nation on this earth, by making free speech subject to Koranic injunctions. Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes on the state of Virginia:

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg ... Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error... It is errors alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.

More than a year ago, in Philadelphia, a first-time Senator aspiring to become the next President of the United States of America had declared:

And yet words on a parchment [the Constitution of the United States of America] would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

In short, Senator Obama had lauded the struggle — and even war — to eradicate slavery here. Why the change of heart now? Why extend unilateral peace and endorse the slavery of Islam, President Obama?

An update here

1 comment :
  1. I guess this is a clear example of the compulsions imposed by his office. A senator can voice his personal views but a president cannot and needs to be measured in tone and words.
    I guess if he said that his war was against Islam it would be misread as a war against everyone who belongs to that religion which is definitely not the case.
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali sums up the problem with that religion in a nutshell. Today's warriors of Islam are caught in a time warp. The challenge is to wake them up to the fact that the Earth has turned a lot and we are 1500 years removed from the thinking they live by.
    Isn't it ironic that the acts and words of these fanatics are making a lot of believers question Religion and God!

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