At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, February 10, 2006

ISLAM-WEST DIVIDE

From the BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4699716.stm
Islam-West divide 'grows deeper'


Malaysia's prime minister says a huge chasm has opened between the West and Islam, fuelled by Muslim frustrations over Western foreign policy.

[That goes both ways. We're almighty frustrated with you too. Plainly put, we think most of you are fanatic crackpots with a chip on your collective shoulder.]


Abdullah Badawi, seen as promoting a moderate form of Islam in largely Muslim Malaysia, said many Westerners saw Muslims as congenital terrorists.

[So what you're saying is that y'all have an image problem?]


As he spoke at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, thousands protested outside at cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. "Long live Islam. Destroy Denmark. Destroy Israel. Destroy George Bush. Destroy America," protesters shouted as they marched to the Danish embassy in the rain from a nearby mosque.

[And yet you wonder why we think of y'all as congenital terrorists?]


On Thursday, Mr Abdullah shut indefinitely a Borneo-based paper, the Sarawak Tribune, for reprinting the cartoons. He described their publication as "insensitive and irresponsible". The paper had apologized for what it called an editorial oversight. The prime minister had also declared possession of the cartoons illegal.

[How do you say "thought control" in Bahasa Melayu? Yes I know that you had to do it, to prevent violence and appease the screamers who would certainly instigate and commit mayhem otherwise - but that you had to do it speaks volumes.]


Addressing an international conference intended to promote dialogue between Western and Islamic thinkers, Mr Abdullah said Islam and the West should stop demonizing each other, and try to curb extremism and promote moderation.

He said mere talk and being nice to one another were not enough, and mutual respect should replace hegemony.

"They think Osama bin Laden speaks for the religion and its followers," he said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

"The demonization of Islam and the vilification of Muslims, there is no denying, is widespread within mainstream Western society."

But Muslims for their part had to avoid "sweeping denunciation of Christians, Jews and the West", he added.

"The West should treat Islam the way it wants Islam to treat the West and vice versa. They should accept one another as equals," he said.

[And this actually proves that the prime minister is a rational and decent man - focus on that expression 'vice versa'. He admits that it needs to go both ways, that respect and decency are a two-way street. The only way either side can accept the other on an equal footing, is if they accept the other on its own terms. Which means that the Muslim world should stop criticizing and vilifying the West.]


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Gentlemen, we aren't going to change just because you scream bloody murder and threaten the direst consequences (and we've come to the disappointing realization that you Muslims are not likely to change either).

The best we can hope for is a gradual lessening of your irrational hostility to the West - so please try at least to overcome your monumental hypersensitivity, and understand that we are not you. We have NO interest in being like you. We really do not want to become obedient Muslims, or be a part of the umma. We do not want to conquer you, nor do we envy you.


This has nothing to do with hatred or depravity - it's just that since you started destroying our classic Mediterranean civilization and building your exclusionary empires on the wreckage, we've gone in a different direction and developed something else, and we have actually gotten quite good at it; we call it by various names - 'liberal democracy', the 'enlightenment', 'modernity', 'humanism', 'freedom' - perhaps you've heard?


In any case, mass conversion at the point of a sword ain't gonna happen, and simplistic pamphlets about the Prophet only enchant the simple minded. Rigidly blinkered Quran-freaks with closed minds will not convince us either - though a broad-minded, literate, and witty approach would definitely win friends.


But if you keep up the angry drumbeat, we will eventually close our doors, and lessen points of contact.


Which will mean that, in the end, you will loose.

Why will you loose?


Because that change in which you do not engage, would allow your societies to react to shifting circumstances, and innovate. It would allow your students to develop flexible minds. It would promote development. It would enrich your cultures, and broaden your horizons. It would turn the sterile ideological wasteland into a garden.


But without change, your best and brightest will scrabble for refuge in the West, and your verkrampte hardliners will continue to organize violence, tyrannize their fellow citizens, and burn your societies. And you will stagnate.


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In other Muslim news, around 10,000 Muslims stage a silent protest rally in Bhopal, India, carrying banners reading: "Stop all anti-Islamic activities... Do not invite disaster."
[Is that a threat?]

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