Sunday, October 29, 2006
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
Oct. 27, 2006
It seems as though we may have forgotten the good will of the common person. We see on television how people treat one another in a less than gracious manner, we read about the trials and tribulations of entire cultures. If one did not know better, you would think the world is aflame. Today, allow me to share one small example of just the opposite behavior.
We left the northern city of Esztergom, Hungary and crossed the Danube River into the country of Slovakia. The border crossing is alway an experience for our group given that two of the passports are from out of the area-we timed how long it would take for the official to process our papers. The average time has been around 25 minutes-today we made it through in 5 minutes. As we drove into the countryside, we seemed to be transferred back in time.
The next 20 minutes were spent driving through the beautiful Slovakia countryside on a narrow 2-lane road similar to those found in the States back in the early 1950s. As we passed through a couple of villages I was reminded of a time long past in rural America-this part of Slovakia remains locked in a time period from long ago. Our final destination was a small village of about 3000 people-the primary business is farming; it is here that the story really begins.
Twice a year we visit our extended family in this small rural area of a recently formed country-Slovakia. By American and most Western standards this is an incredibly poor community, few people have cars, many still ride bicycles, most walk from one point to another and our friends still barter for goods and services. For example, money is scarce but the family cows produce milk-up to 40 quarts a day are created; the neighbors arrive, one by one to pick up their daily milk. For about 25 cents a quart you walk home with fresh milk right from the cow.
Next door there is no indoor plumbing, maybe three people have a computer and as far as I know the Internet has not reached this part of the country as of yet. There are no stores selling designer clothes. A shirt, a pair of pants and shoes are worn by at least three in a family before new ones are purchased. The youngster walking about the area with a DKNY garment received it from a relative living abroad, he or she wears it proudly. Macintosh is the apple growing on the local trees and a television is special if you can afford one in your home. This is not an exception in rural Slovakia, this is the norm. On the Slovakian-Hungarian border it is a different story. I have observed on the border during the past 9 years a major transformation taking place. At first there were only a handful of stores or businesses; today we passed by the Hollywood Pizzeria. Free enterprise is abundant and services and products are found everywhere. Many Hungarians now cross over the bridge to purchase such goods because they are even cheaper in Slovakia than in Hungary. For an American, Hungarian prices are gold mines and the Slovakian prices are even lower.
We usually bring to our family some of the following:selected fruits, beer, chocolates and a few small gifts for the children. We spend our time together laughing, singing songs, playing outdoors and sitting around a huge table and talking about family, life in general and yes, even politics. Recently we have started swapping tales from our past and I notice that the young children, who never knew what is was like to live under a totalitarian government remain at the table and listen intently.
When we are ready to return the 20 miles to Esztergom gifts are bestowed upon us-this from a group who, by our standards, are poor. We arrive back in Hungary with a gallon of fresh milk, two pounds of new cheese, 3 pounds of grapes from their small vineyard, a dozen eggs and a small box of chocolates. We walk out to the car, it takes at least 20 more minutes to say goodbye-everyone from age 82 to 8 months stands by the car throwing kisses and waving goodbye-it is something special. It happens every time we visit-it is a way of life, part of their culture.
The same is true with our Hungarian family and friends. They seem to be a few years ahead of Slovakia in terms of economy yet, their life styles and events are very similar. This past week at the dinner table our Hungarian extended family started telling us what it was like back in the 1980s prior to their separation from the totalitarian government that ruled over them for over 3 decades.For example, back in those days they could only afford one new pair of pants from each monthly salary-that is all the extras they could buy. Today, the situation is different-I have noticed how the 10-15 year olds listen intently, not believing their ears. Yes, in such a short time, the Hungarian people have completely turned their lives around; they have done this so quickly that the newest generation has never known such proverty and wonder how their parents ever lived without DVDs,cell phones, iPods and the Internet.
These stories are not unique to Hungary and Slovakia; they do represent a social change witnessed by all of us during a most dramatic period of world history. It is useful to know the following about these two countries:
· During the 20th century their borders were substantially altered
· Hungary lost many thousands of acres-its current borders determined in 1990, Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia until 1993 and now is a country unto itself
· Tens of thousands of Hungarians and Slovakians lost or had taken from them all of their belongings, homes, jobs- their way of life as their new states were being formed
· There was no immediate or long term monies - no Marshall Plan for them, made available to either country for development of their economies nor was there a special UN division formed to take care of their collective populations-there was no 279 million Euros provided either country as was given to the PA in 20051
· As they returned to a life of freedom, acceptance and tolerance, their lives began to change, shift and expand in a relatively rapid time frame
· They each created their own form of democracy, they are working on such challenges as is presented any people when they transfer from a totalitarian to a free form of government-they tell me it is a process and they are learning every year.
· The people tell me that they realize they are not America or Great Britain, they have a unique culture that is developing its own form of democracy-they tell me it is working well in spite of all the growing pains and they much prefer it to Communism
· In spite of losing homelands, belongings, possessions, family members, torture by an occupying nation neither country has sent homicide bombers, or missiles or blown up busses in their neighboring countries-countries far more affluent than theirs. Their texbooks do not misrepresent the regional history or indigenous peoples.
· They do not preach hatred to the general population nor does their television portray their neighbors as evil-even though they seem to have so much more in terms of material goods and services
· Both countries have invested in their people, in ideas and concepts that add positively to the lives of people everywhere-Hungary is becoming an international leader in technology
· Finally, tolerance of those different from themselves is being practiced within both countires.
For many of us living in the USA we have only known and experienced our 50 states. Let us be honest, we have also only experienced a fairly high standard of living- Today’s young generation does not know a life without televison, dvds, cell phones and fast food. I make no judgment about these facts, rather, I suggest what we know as a personal truth is the result of our current life experiences. What seems to be missing is that we believe that the rest of the world has had some if not many of these same experiences-we have not been told the truth in a manner that would help us understand what is going on today away from the USA borders. Our borders have been defined for decades, this is not the case across the world. Since WW II or the early 1950s countries have come and gone. I do not write this in a cavalier manner, it is a matter of public record. For example, in Europe the following changes occurred:
· Germany and Japan re-divided the areas under their control. Following world war II, the borders of Germany were moved west to the Oder-Neisse line, while the approximate boundary of the Curzon Line was used as the eastern border of
· 1947 Free Territory of Trieste set up (bordering Italy and Yugoslavia)
· 1949 Saar incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany (Previously bordered Luxembourg, France and Germany)
1990 October 3 - East Germany reunites with West Germany.
1991 With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the USSR split up into 15 independent states. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia declare independence from the Yugoslavia which now comprises Serbia and Montenegro. (This was renamed "Serbia & Montenegro" in 2003)
1993. Czechoslovakia splits into Czech Republic and Slovakia
2006 Montenegro gains independence from Serbia & Montenegro. Thus Serbia also becomes an independent state.2
In Africa and Asia the changes have been enormous. Over 25 border changes have taken place in Africa alone.3 Since the so-called Cold War, changes in borders in Europe and Central Asia have created 24 new countries. During this time it is the USA that has remained stable even though we did add two additional states Hawaii and Alaska. Imagine the social, cultural and economic impact these changes had upon citizens living today within the new borders.
Change is part of life in this world, it occurs even if we wish it differently. Life events, people, situations and circumstances interact with one another with the result being our daily reality. It seems to me that how a person or a group of people choose to interpret the changes, how they choose to act in accordance with these same changes and what they choose to focus upon is what distinguishes one country from one and the others. Furthermore, it is this same focus that seems to define the character, integrity and honor of a group of people.
Slovakians and Hungarians have emerged from the totalitarian control of the former communist Soviet Union to develop into an emerging democracy. They are focused upon freedom of choice in every aspect of their lives. They have invested heavily in education, their economy and their future development as a nation state with comparatively little assistance from the external community (finally in 2002 Hungary was provided loans and some monies from the EU). Regardless of the current economic levels, regardless of the historic grievances they each sustained and regardless of loosing material items they have selected the path of human decency. They are in the process of defining their national identity and character. They have developed their personal integrity and are standing tall among the emerging worlds nations. As a nation they have displayed and continue to display decent human behavior among their respective citizenships as well as with the world community. This, I submit, is a matter of choice, exercised in accordance with their cultural values. It seems that the media, the world leaders and general international population do not acknowledge their incredible accomplishments ongoing since 1990-a mere 16 years. Why no attention? Why have they not been held up as models for others to emulate?
I contrast these two groups with another group of people, in the Middle East, who have obviously chosen another path-the results should not be a surprise to anyone in the West. They have had the greatest per capital economic aide provided any world population since the 1980s, they had during the same time frame as the Hungarians and Slovakians, unencumbered aide and support by the world community and their actions, behavior and results pale in comparison.
Yet, the world, through its actions, regretably reinforces actions and behaviors that are contrary to self reliance, economic development and acceptance and tolerance of other people. I submit for consideration this is the result of their own victimhood and we witness these horrific results daily.
We, in Israel, are not surprised-I, for one, am simply disappointed and am now approaching anger, that the world responds hypocrically to this one group-the world communities do not hold them to the same behavioral standards we hold the Slovakians and Hungarians to, I wonder why?
Meanwhile. I shall continue to admire the courageous daily actions of those who choose to join the international world of decency-my extended family is really representative of good people and my admiration abounds.
European Union Support for Extremist and Politicized NGOs http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/infofile/eu_funding_231006.html, Oct. 24, 2006
The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP,Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War, Oct. 25, 2006
Mokhtar, G. (1990) UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. II, Abridged Edition: Ancient Africa, University of California Press. ISBN 0-85255-092-8.
Special thank you to my editor Chana Givon; Don’s Blog: http://docstalk.blogspot.com
Monday, October 16, 2006
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
October 16, 2006
My basic premise is that there are significant differences between the Judeo-Christian culture and the Islamic culture. It is these perceived and interpreted differences that are the root cause of much of today’s terror and violence perpetrated against the West. Understanding that differences do exist, acknowledging that they exist and then being willing to take appropriate actions is the reason we must finally face this clear and present danger. Proper identification of the problem is the only way one can develop appropriate and effective answers. To continue to inaccurately identify the problem or to ignore or deny its existence can only mean we are unwilling to defend our way of life. I submit for consideration that this is our generation’s trial and, therefore, test.1
The context of this piece is to identify some of the overt behavioral differences between the Judeo-Christian and Muslim cultures. The author has no intention of indicating that the behaviors are doctrine driven; rather I do suggest that they are demonstrative of the influence each group’s culture has upon their resultant actions. For purposes of the discussion the following definition of culture has again been used:
“The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression…The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization”.2
Knowledge, experiences, and interactions with people enable a person to develop his/her own personal belief system. Setting aside the role religion plays in development of one’s beliefs, the socialization and education of an individual certainly helps one form a point of view. The result of forming opinions about life, others and sense of morality is acted out as behavior that is reinforced by the participant’s social group. We are who we are in part because of whom we live with and with whom we develop. Mix in religious teachings and the essence of a human being is formed.
We, in America, understand this simple explanation of why people are different from one another. Those of us who grew up in the East find it odd, different and even difficult to live in the West-the way of life is so disparate from one another. On the other hand how many stories have we each heard about the native Californian deciding to leave his/her life, move to another state, only to return to California within 5 years. The reason so often given: “I just could not adapt to their way of thinking or acting-I needed to come home.” This is witnessed around our country daily and we even have developed a sense of humor about it. Therefore, it is quite easy to understand that our views and values, the manner in which we choose to live are significantly different from those people who live in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia - to identify but a few countries. Everything from how we dress, to what we eat, to how we greet people to behavioral expectations between men and women and so much more is as different as the sun and the moon. To dismiss that these differences exist is naïve and ignorant. To chastise those who point out the differences is demonstrative of one’s failure to tell the truth. It seems lately that identifying differences automatically puts one into a category of being intolerant or racist. What a pity, to tell the truth is the ethical and moral duty of a good person.
The USA is perhaps the largest example of an ongoing social experiment. We are still in the process of learning how to live cooperatively with so many different groups of people choosing to become part of our culture. We are still figuring it out. What has been missing for some time is what does it mean to be an American? A return to this discussion is crucial. I will offer only this: our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and beliefs; we believe that English should be the primary language, we developed a Constitution grounded in the aforementioned values and we believe in a multitude of freedoms. From this foundation an entire American lifestyle has emerged-the result of commonly held beliefs –assimilation is still going on each day by people from many cultures. A code of operational behaviors is the result of the commonly held values. These translate into daily behaviors such as greetings, foods, speaking styles and clothing lines. Our life philosophy and thus our daily behavior is based upon the sum total of all the experiences we have had until today; we act in accordance with these. People are simply different.
It may be due to my own life perspicacity but I for one love the Western culture I live in and I choose it for my children and grandchildren. I do not support another culture coming into my country of origin and imposing itself upon me. I was taught from the time I could talk to always respect another’s person’s home and to not impose our family’s “way of doing things” on them. As I have traveled the world, I have adopted the same attitude. The fact is that visiting many other countries, particularly those in the Middle East and South Asia where Islam is the dominant religion, it is imperative that one not impose on others his/her “homegrown” behaviors; the consequences are severe. Yet, today, it is some practioners of Islam who want to impose their entire way of life upon us. The following represents only the tip of the iceberg:
The Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society, an organization the Chicago Tribune has established is devoted to turning the United States into a country run by Islamic law. The wife of a former head of the organization, for example, has explained that its goal is "to educate everyone about Islam and to follow the teachings of Islam with the hope of establishing an Islamic state."3
“The government of Saudi Arabia is distributing books and pamphlets across the United States in an effort to recruit American Muslims to an international struggle against Christians and Jews, the director of a religious freedom organization told the Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 8.”4
Omar M. Ahmad Chairman of CAIR made the following statement a few years ago, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran ... should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." To be fair, I must note that CAIR announced that Omar Ahmad denied making the statement and CAIR was seeking a retraction from the newspaper that published the story on July 4, 1998. As a follow up side note Steve Waterhouse, editor of The Argus in Fremont, Calif., told WND his paper has not been contacted by CAIR. The article of denial also was run in a sister publication, the San Ramon Valley Herald. The paper's city editor, Dave Boitano, said he would have known if CAIR had sought a retraction. Interesting strategy CAIR employs.
Imam Siraj Wahaj, a CAIR board member, who is one of the most respected American Muslim leaders and is vice president of the Islamic Society of North America. Dr. Daniel Pipes reports that he "calls for replacing the U.S. government with a caliphate."
Still more efforts by Saudi Arabia to Spread (Wahhabi) Islam :
· "…The determination of the Kingdom to support Islam and Islamic institutions to the best of its ability was evident from the formation of the Kingdom by King Abdul Aziz but it was only when oil revenues began to generate real wealth that the Kingdom could fulfill its ambitions of spreading the word of Islam to every corner of the world, of assisting Muslim countries less well endowed economically and of alleviating the suffering of Muslim minorities wherever they might live."
· Efforts in the U.S."The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Fahd Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, has given support to the following institutions in the United States:
· Dar Al-Salam Institute, the Fresno Mosque in California
· Islamic Center in Colombia, Missouri
· Islamic Center in East Lansing, Michigan
· Islamic Center in Los Angeles, California
· Islamic Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey
· Islamic Center in New York
· Islamic Center in Tida, Maryland
· Islamic Center in Toledo, Ohio
· Islamic Center in Virginia
· Islamic Center in Washington
· Islamic Cultural Center in Chicago
· King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles
· Mosque of the Albanian Community in Chicago
· South-West Big Mosque of Chicago
· Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque in Los Angeles." 5
For your consideration: It is Islam and its practioners who proactively attempt and often demand to see to it that the international community operates under the veil of Islam. There is a major difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. “Islam was born with the idea that it should rule the world… Judaism speaks about national salvation… Christianity speaks about the idea that every single person in the world can be saved from his sins. Islam says "Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so that it should rule over all the religions."6
The language we use is different as well as interpreted differently. There are many common day examples. Here in Israel what is reported in English to the media is reported the exact opposite in Arabic. Peace for our culture means to accept the other party, tolerate and empower the person and truly believe that conflict is over. In the Islamic world of interpretation there is but a hudna - temporary lull. Once the leaders feel they have more than enough power they immediately attack-there is no such concept as “peace”.
Even during wartime the West operates within certain rules or laws. “The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law, including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among other liberties. There are naive old-fashioned habits such as respecting religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of war, avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human shields or human bombs.”7
“The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the rule of law in a totally lawless environment. It is trying to play ice hockey by sending a ballerina ice-skater into the ring or to knock out a heavyweight boxer by a chess player… The amazing thing is that all of these crooks demand protection under international law, and define all those who attack them as "war criminals," with some Western media repeating the allegations.”7
Judaism and Christianity are religions unto themselves. Not so with Islam. Nagdi Allam, born in Egypt, and today vice editor of the Corriere della Sera wrote that the root of evil was in the blind ideology of hatred by some Muslims, an ideology that was raping the faith…The problem is an internal Islamic problem since extremists have transformed the faith in God into an ideology which wants to impose a theocratic and totalitarian regime, he concluded.8
“Islam is not a religion as most Westerners understand it. For the Western media and apologetic thinkers, Islam is compared to Christianity, and Muslim groups in the European and American countries are defined as religious communities… But Islam is not a religion in this “narrow” sense. It is much more than that. It is a system of law, it is a social and political system; it is a way of life. It has full control over the behavior of the individual, the society, and the state. It deals with war and peace, it defines the relations between the Moslems and the rest of the world, and as we saw, it also determines the attitude to non-Muslims who are unfortunate enough to come under Islamic rule.”9
In the West we believe in freedom of speech, which includes criticizing as well as accepting criticism. This behavior comes directly from our Judeo-Christian values. This is absolutely not accepted nor true for many practicing Islam. The current examples are the Muslim world’s reactions to the Danish cartoons, to the words of a Pope quoting another writer and a teacher in France who has gone into hiding after receiving death threats. His offense? He published a column in the French newspaper Le Figaro in which he characterized the Muslim prophet Muhammad as “a merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist.”
The resultant behavior of this poor man’s honesty and accurate statement is the following:
Redeker said that one of the threats he received stated: “You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, three hundred thousand Muslims are ready to kill you.” As the death threats poured in, everyone abandoned Redeker. The teacher himself noted that France’s education ministry “has not even contacted me, has not deigned to get in touch to see if I need any help.” The senior editor of Le Figaro, Pierre Rousselin, declared on Al-Jazeera that he had been mistaken to publish Redeker’s article, and hastened to assure the Islamic world that the article did not reflect the opinion of the paper.”10 Allow me to suggest that the Islamic rhetoric still seems to cause some people to lose any sense of ethics as well as any remaining courage they might have had.
It seems to me that the concept and application of multi-culturalism has had some unintended consequences-at least I hope they were unintended. For example, those of us who question the belief that everyone can live together peacefully are labeled anti this and “-ist” that; even in the hallowed halls of my academia I cannot have a reasonable discussion when I challenge my colleagues on this point. We have created a social consciousness that has invented “political correctness” as an operational behavior in our daily speaking lives. People are fearful of upsetting someone else or goodness gracious offending someone. This has lead to “passive acceptance” of others behavioral practices. We are not standing up to or by our internal behavioral principles. The consequences to each of us are enormous. The regretful results are dangerous to our country. Curiously political correctness does not seem to be part of other peoples’ culture and thus they are not bound by it. However, it is used against us and has highlighted our Achilles heel.
Finally, the concept of 'Pre-emptive obedience' is making a comeback in re-unified Germany and several other European countries. What is this? In Communist East Germany this meant guessing the future orders of the politburo and obeying them before they were issued. There have been many examples of this recently in Europe, although it has also presented itself in America.11 Here are but a few:
· It was based on "pre-emptive obedience" that the German Opera in Berlin decided to cancel its production of Mozart's Idomeneo after the managers decided that it might anger Muslims.
· In Spain, folkloric ceremonies and carnivals marking the expulsion of the Moors from Andalusia have been cancelled in all but a handful of villages, ending a 400-year old tradition.
· In most European countries, an official black of list of books has emerged, containing works deemed to be "hurtful to Muslim sentiments".11
This particular author cites many more examples of this behavior. The following line shouts at us: The practitioners of "pre-emptive obedience" often claim they are acting in accordance with the best principles of multiculturalism.11
It is time to awaken if one is asleep and for those who understand it is time to secure some courage and stand by the principles by which we live.
Morris, GS Don ‘The Differences Among Us,” posted www.PRIMER.org, Oct. 10,2006
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
“Apple’s Mecca project provokes Muslim reaction,” http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD131506, Oct. 11,2006
William Matthews, “Saudi books aim to divide U.S. Muslims, infidels, Congress told”, http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1232073.php , Nov. 20, 2005
'Billions Spent by Saudi Royal Family to Spread Islam to Every Corner of the Earth', MEMRI, March 27, 2002.
Moshe Sharon, “Agenda of Islam”, referenced in “The Differences Among Us”.
Haim Harari, “A View from the Eye of the Storm”,
Sergio I. Minerbi, “Is it good for the West?” Jerusalem Post, September 18, 2006
Moshe Sharon, Reviving the Caliphate, October, 2006
Robert Spencer, The Philosopher and the Fatwa, Front Page, Oct. 2, 2006
Amir Taheri, 'Pre-emptive obedience' at work, http://www.gulfnews.com/, Oct.12,2006
Special thank you to my editor-Chana Givon
See more at: http://docstalk.blogspot.com
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
October 10, 2006
There are those who suggest we are all one people. Others suggest we must learn to love one another. Still others believe that we can all live together in harmony! I, too, wish for a world that operates on principles of peace, tolerance and cooperation. Sadly, this has never been the case nor is it likely in the foreseeable future-we are simply quite different from one another. **
The context of this piece resides with Islamic practitioners who are upset with Christianity and Judaism and Western values. The upset has been with us for years and most recently became international headlines with the Danish cartoon affair. Last month the Pope apparently offended some Islamic followers. As Ilana Mercer indicated, ‘That Islam may be a closed and irrational system, impermeable to reform, has concerned this Pope for some time. As a confidant recently put it, the issue for the Holy Father is how to deal with “a religion whose principle is based on God's word—not on the words of men, but God's word delivered directly to Mohammed—which can't be interpreted, can't be changed, can't be adapted.” That Islam counsels conquest, not coexistence, is ultimately what gives the Pope pause.1
Some of us in the West are also pausing for a moment to ponder what needs to be said. I suggest that we consider the world is in the midst of an ideology war that has its basis in religious fervor. Within this context is the notion that cultures are also colliding in terms of behavioral values accepted by varying groups of people across the planet. It is imperative that we acknowledge that multiple cultures comprise the social fabric of this world community. For purposes of this discussion I suggest that culture be defined as: “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression…The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization”.2
My basic premise is that there are significant differences between the Judeo-Christian culture and the Islamic culture. It is these perceived and interpreted differences that are the root cause of much of today’s terror and violence perpetrated against the West. Understanding that differences do exist, acknowledging that they exist and then being willing to take appropriate actions is the reason we must finally face this clear and present danger. Proper identification of the problem is the only way one can develop appropriate and effective answers. To continue to accurately identify the problem or to ignore or deny its existence can only mean we are unwilling to defend our way of life. I submit for consideration that this is our generation’s trial and, therefore, test.
The following represents but a few of the differences that do exist between our two value systems. There are many more that will be presented in due time. This piece represents the beginning of a much-needed international discussion.
“Islam of today differs from the Islam of yesterday. Instead of a thriving era of the Abbasids, we are experiencing a terrorist era of Wahhabism. Wahhabism is an obscure strand of Islam with fanatical followers who remained "out of sight and out of mind" until Saudi Arabia struck it rich with oil.”3
“The radicalism of Wahhabi Islam demands a concerted effort by moderate Muslims and Muslim nations alike if ever Islam is to survive to usher another era of peace and prosperity. To succeed, we must chart a strategy to wrestle control of Makkah and Medina from the hands of the 5 million extremist Najd-bred Wahhabis and trust these two Holy Cities to an International Council of Muslim Nations with the country of Jordan as the host.”3
Brigitte Gabriel has suggested the following: “Today, radical Islam’s war rages in varying degrees of intensity throughout the world, not just against Christians and Jews in the west, but also against Hindus, Buddhists, Copts, indeed all non-Muslim “infidels”, Their degree of zealotry even has them attacking other denominations within Islam itself. Islamic radicals are instigating and perpetuating terrorist campaigns, insurgencies, civil wars, minority suppression, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chad, Chechnya, Dagestan, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kashmir, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, territories administered by the “Palestinian Authority,” Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, The United States of America, Yemen, and Zanzibar. The rest of the world is held hostage to fear.4
Contrary to some news media, this has become an international problem that stretches far beyond Iraq, Israel, Syria, Iran and the United States. This is not an isolated problem; rather it has become global. Neither did this value conflict begin with the second Iraqi war-it has been with us for decades. We are just now finally willing to tell the truth and call it for what it is. Political correctness, fear of upsetting others not like us and general fear of retribution has up to now prevented us from speaking out. That concept now sleeps “with the fishes” and individuals around the world are stepping up to ask critical questions as well as report the truth-finally. The cartoon affair and the Pope Misspeak have opened the door for analysis.
These incidents also spotlight a total lack of reciprocity by Muslims. The Saudi government bans Bibles, crosses and Stars of David, while Muslims routinely publish disgusting cartoons of Jews… The basic message - "You Westerners no longer have the privilege to say what you will about Islam, the Prophet and the Koran; Islamic law rules you too". 5
The importance of this analysis is to identify differences rather than blame either side for the existence of same. Once differences have been clearly presented, it is incumbent upon us to determine how we are to respond. Human beings do have a choice in the matter of what they will value. This statement alone resonates in Judeo-Christian cultures but not so in certain Islamic cultures. The disagreement with this one simple statement manifests itself in direct behavior. This behavior causes conflict between the two groups who hold different beliefs. Let us examine some additional dissimilarities.
The Language of Islam
“You see, so much is covered by politically correct language that, in fact, the truth has been lost. For example, when we speak about Islam in the West, we try to use our own language and terminology. We speak about Islam in terms of democracy and fundamentalism, in terms of parliamentarism and all kinds of terms, which we take from our own dictionary. One of my professors and one of the greatest orientalists in the world says that doing this is like a cricket reporter describing a cricket game in baseball terms. We cannot use for one culture or civilization the language of another. For Islam, you've got to use the language of Islam”.6
Driving Principles of Islam
“Every Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is only one God.
But it's not enough to say that there is only one God. A Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet. These are the fundamentals of the religion that without them, one cannot be a Moslem.
But beyond that, Islam is a civilization. It is a religion that gave first and foremost a wide and unique legal system that engulfs the individual, society and nations with rules of behaviour. If you are Moslem, you have to behave according to the rules of Islam which are set down in the Koran and which are very different than the teachings of the Bible.”6
I am not a biblical scholar but let me use the words of someone who is most knowledgeable to make this most critical point-our ideologies and thus our religious and social culture are as different as night is from day.
“The Bible leads to salvation. It leads to salvation in two ways…In Judaism, it leads to national salvation - not just a nation that wants to have a state, but a nation that wants to serve God. That's the idea behind the Hebrew text of the Bible…But the key word is salvation. Personal salvation means that each individual is looked after by God, Himself, who leads a person through His word to salvation. This is the idea in the Bible, whether we are talking about the Old or the New Testament”6
As religions, both Judaism and Christianity in their fundamentals speak about honoring the image of God and the hope of salvation. These are the two basic fundamentals.
Now let's move to the essence of Islam. “Islam was born with the idea that it should rule the world.
Let's look, then, at the differences among these three religions. Judaism speaks about national salvation - namely that at the end of the story, when the world becomes a better place, Israel will be in its own land, ruled by its own king and serving God. Christianity speaks about the idea that every single person in the world can be saved from his sins, while Islam speaks about ruling the world. I can quote here in Arabic, but there is no point in quoting Arabic, so let me quote a verse in English. "Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so that it should rule over all the religions…The idea, then, is not that the whole world would become a Moslem world at this time, but that the whole world would be subdued under the rule of Islam.”6
Although quite incomplete in terms of an argument, the preceding directs our attention to some significant differences existing between Judeo-Christian beliefs and certain Islamic beliefs. There is much more to be said.
“Religious fanatics, regardless of what name they give their jealous god, invariably have one thing in common: no sense of humor, particularly about themselves. It's hard to imagine Torquemada taking a joke well.
Today's Islamists seem to have not even a sense of irony. They fail to see the richness of the following sequence. The pope makes a reference to a 14th-century Byzantine emperor's remark about Islam imposing itself by the sword, and to protest this linking of Islam and violence:
· In the West Bank and Gaza, Muslims attack seven churches.
· In London, the ever-dependable radical Anjem Choudary tells demonstrators at Westminster Cathedral that the Pope is now condemned to death.
· In Mogadishu, Somali religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin calls on Muslims to "hunt down" the Pope. The Pope not being quite at hand, they do the next best thing: shoot dead, execution-style, an Italian nun who worked in a children's hospital.
· How dare you say Islam is a violent religion? I'll kill you for it is not exactly the best way to go about refuting the charge. But of course, refuting is not the point here. The point is intimidation. In today's world, religious sensitivity is a one-way street. The rules of the road are enforced by Islamic mobs and abjectly followed by Western media, politicians and religious leaders.
However, the “inconvenient” truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up. It is a simple and undeniable fact that the violent purveyors of monotheistic religion today are self-proclaimed warriors for Islam who shout "God is great" as they slit the throats of infidels -- such as those of the flight crews on Sept. 11, 2001 -- and are then celebrated as heroes and martyrs.”7
Some would argue that “they” accept the existence of cultural differences; therefore, we must practice tolerance. Why? It seems that in the West we take it as a given that this concept rules the day. It would be counter to our professed democratic behaviors as well as antithetical to our Judeo-Christian belief systems if we did not appreciate differences. The entire concept of tolerance, as practiced today, needs to be examined. Since when do we in the West have to bend to behavior that is contrary to our agreed upon rules? Dr. Temkin presents a point of view worthy of consideration:
“In general, America and Europe take pride in their tolerance and acceptance of immigrant societies or minority groups. Both nations express deep concern for the protection of individual rights and are known for graciously accommodating the needs of minorities. They understand that minorities want to be respected, accommodated, and protected.
Recently, in regards to Islam, the efforts to respect, accommodate, and protect minority wishes have been subjected to a new and most challenging obstacle. The new challenge is known as “Islamic anger” which comes as a result of “insulting Islam”. “Muslim anger” has produced a rapid evolution of societal standards. The fear of initiating an Islamic insult, leading to anger and subsequent aggression have effectively served to modify societal behaviors, and have thwarted previous freedoms, standards, and attitudes. Newspapers must be careful what they publish, artists what they draw, speakers what they say, researchers what they write and now a Mozart opera is no longer to be performed because one of the scenes might cause insult to Islam.”8
Intentional behavior begins with some thoughts. These evolve into a set of beliefs. It is this structure of any culture that generates actions. The actions are consistent with their beliefs and those that are not so are considered inappropriate and are addressed in kind. We have today two diverging cultures; each with its own teachings and behaviors. This in turn sets the stage for conflicts.
It is not my place to suggest to anyone that one set of beliefs is better than another-this is a personal decision. However, I do suggest that once you have decided, it is imperative that you stand up for your decision. It is critical that you are clear in your beliefs-clarity is what enables people to act without remorse or hesitation. The next step is to defend your beliefs, with words and actions-this requires courage and a willingness to not allow fear to dictate your moment-to-moment actions.
** This paper represents the first of several dedicated to better understanding what is going on in the battle of today’s ideologies. The discussion that follows will be interpreted in the “eyes of the beholder”. I am sharing my point of view that is based upon research, analysis and interpretation given my cultural background. I make no attempt to be politically correct-if this is not consistent with your willingness to engage in such an endeavor, this piece is not for you and you should move on to another article.
1. Ilana Mercer, “Islam's Irrationality”, Front page Magazine, September 28,2006
2. The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
3. Farid N. Ghadry, Islam is in danger, The Washington Times, www.washingtontimes.com, September 21, 2006
4. Brigitte Gabriel, Because They hate, Front Page Magazine, September 25, 2006
5. Daniel Pipes, Islamic Law Rules You too, Jerusalem Post, September 27, 2006
6. Moshe Sharon, “The Agenda Of Islam-A War Between civilizations” http://www.betar.co.il December 24, 2003
7. Charles Krauthammer, “Tolerance: A two-way street”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/09/21/AR2006092101513.html ,September 22, 2006
8. Daryl Temkin, ‘What Muslims Want”, Director of the Israel Education Institute September, 2006
Special thank you to my editor-Chana Givon
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Dhimmitude: Now playing in Israel
I am a non-Jew choosing to live in Israel. I understand this is a state designed for Jews around the world to practice their faith, free of the past horrors bestowed upon them. I support and believe this to be their right. However, something very dangerous is creeping about this planet-we, here in Israel, live it daily. You read about it, watch it on TV but honestly you are not yet affected by it. The "it" I am referring to is the loss of religious freedom, the appeasement of the world's religions to Islam. Those of you who are not religious are also on the verge of feeling this "it". You see, we are ALL loosing freedom of speech, freedom of behavioral practice no matter what that may be. If you are not yet concerned, time is not on your side.
The following report, just now sent to me and to the world, speaks to this creeping menace. Please read the following news event-the untold story. To think this happened here, in Israel, homeland of the Jewish people, is the sounding bell for the world community-the question is-WILL YOU HEAR IT RINGING?
”Dhimmitude is accepting the beliefs of those who want to negate you-it is a status nefariously designed to bring about a profound psychological and social degradation of the non-muslim populations, in some ways similar to slavery. Persons and entire cultures undergo an identity transformation whose most profound characteristic is the loss of self-respect and cultural cohesion and a kind of cultural amnesia.
DAVID BEDEIN, Bureau Chief. Israel Resource News Agency,
www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com writes the following:
What happened at the small area near the Western Wall known as the "Kotel Hakatan" this Rosh HaShanah, the second day of the Jewish New Year must be viewed with great severity, because of the precedent that it portends.
While the Jerusalem police spokesman told the media that the police arrested a 20 year old resident of Jerusalem's Old City, Eliahu Kleinman, for sounding the Shofar "in order to create a provocation among the Arab residents in the Old City of Jerusalem", the people who were present during Morning prayers while Eliahu was arrested tell a different story.
Hedy Kleinman, Eliahu's mother, who came on Aliya from Toronto in 1978, was in the women's section of the prayers, and watched when a Druze member of the Israel Border Police who are stationed in the Old City, motioned to her son to stop blowing the shofar during the Musaf section of the Near Year prayer because it bothered the Arabs in the area. Although the custom was indeed to blow the Shoafar during the Musaf service, the policeman screamed that it "this was forbidden because it bothers the Arabs".
People present at the prayers heard the officer send a radio message to his superiors that "these people re in the middle of prayers and that he could not do anything about the young man who was blowing the shofar".
The answer that the policeman got from on his walker-talkee from his Jewish police commander, Guy Gilboa, was to "arrest the shofar blower immediately, even if he is in the middle of prayer".
Two Druze officers, with name tags "Aswan" and "Jamil" arrived on the scene, and signaled Eliahu to stop blowing the shofar and to come with them to the Jerusalem Old City Police station.
Since Eliahu was in the midst of prayer with his feet together, as is the custom. Eliahu would not and could not respond. Eliahu blew the shofar once again, since it is the Sephardic custom to blow the shofar during the Amidah silent prayer.
After he blew the shofar, Aswan and Jamil proceeded to drag Eliahu to the police station despite the fact that he was in the midst of prayer,
At the Jerusalem Old City police station, police commander Gilboa informed Eliahu that he would be charged with disobeying and attacking a police officer and resisting arrest.
Over the past week, as the veracity of the story has come out, the Jerusalem police have stuck to their story that they arrested the Eliahu for blowing the shofar after the "kotel hakatan" after prayers, in order to bother the Arabs.
While the police asked the court for a restraining order to prevent Eliahu from going anywhere near the "kotel haktan" for the next 15 days, his lawyer, Adv. Daniel Rubin, appealed that order at the Jerusalem District Court and the police restraining order was cancelled. However, the police informed the court that they would press charges against Eliahu for resisting arrest.
Israel Resource News Agency asked the police if they would apologize for arresting a man during prayer The answer received was "no".
The precedent has been created- that the Israeli police can make an
arbitrary decision to disrupt prayers of Jews on the holiest days of the year,
The question remains: will organizations that are traditionally involved in defending religious rights get involved and demand that the Israeli police never violate religious rights of Jews never do any such a thing in the future?
Not one human rights or civil liberties organization spoke with Eliahu nor with the people whose prayers were disrupted while their religious rights were violated.
The question is why?