America the terrible

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Oct 042006
 
Authors: TREVOR SIDES

Good intentions are a flash-flood on dry prairies. The prairie needs water, but when the rain comes in the wrong fashion, the results are ruinous.

A couple of weeks ago, the town hall meeting “Islam in America: Hope not Hate” at Lory Student Center left me with the same impression.

I know Dr. Lori Peek, Kathy Gockel and Imam Mahdi Bray were trying to help fix the mess our world is in. But like flash-floods on a parched prairie, so were the answers these activists put forth.

Due to time and space, I will focus on the main tenets each so passionately espoused.

Peek used FBI statistics to speak out against the prejudice and hate crimes that have plagued Muslim Americans post-9/11. Bias and disdain based purely on skin color or religion is backward at best and destructive at worst, and there I agree with Peek.

In 2000, only 28 anti-Muslim hate-crime incidents were reported; that figured jumped to 481 in 2001. Yuck. But over the next three years, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes plummeted to 155, 149, and 156, respectively.

Something Peek didn’t tell the audience, though, was that the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes was ridiculously higher than anti-Muslim hate crimes. In 2001, anti-Jewish hate crimes more than doubled anti-Muslim hate crimes; between 2002 and 2004, anti-Jewish hate crimes averaged around 780 more incidents than anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Peek used the hate-crime stats to show that Muslim Americans are living without much of their freedoms. Based on that logic, Jewish Americans live with no freedom at all.

She also views racial profiling as essentially racist and a blatant attempt to strip Muslim Americans of their liberties.

Who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon? Middle Eastern, Islamic men. Who bombed the U.S.S. Cole? Middle Eastern, Islamic men. Who tried to blow up the WTC in 1993? Middle Eastern, Islamic men. In his Aug. 18 editorial in the Chicago Tribune, Jonah Goldberg stated that “roughly 99 percent of jihadi terrorists are of either Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and 100 percent of them are Muslim.”

This doesn’t mean that race should be the only factor involved in spotting potential terror threats in, say, an airport. The Transportation Security Administration has a 30-point checklist for spotting questionable behavior. But doesn’t it make sense to keep half an eye out for male Muslims from Middle Eastern countries?

As for Ms. Gockel, her bleeding-heart plea to “put ourselves in others’ shoes” was completely na’ve. She asked us to think about Iraqis and how they’re probably wondering why North Korea or Pakistan or India weren’t invaded – because they, too, have nuclear weapons programs.

Of course, Gockel assumes she’s speaking for all Iraqis – a big flaw (I have an uncle who spent six months in Iraq; many of the Iraqis are thrilled that we came). But I don’t think any North Koreans were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and India and Pakistan are too self-absorbed to care about anything except Kashmir and their own arms race.

Gockel also pleaded for us to sympathize with terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. She believes their status as terrorists isn’t fair because they offer social services to the poor in their communities. Good for them. Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany also offered social services, and communist Cuba provides social services for their poor. Does that vindicate those repressive and backwards regimes as well?

Hamas and Hezbollah also use women and children to deter their heinous, Western enemies. Thus, civilian casualties have risen in that region – another major concern of Gockel’s. But instead of condemning the terrorists who use civilians as battle-field shields and suicide bombers, Gockel sees fit to rail against U.S. security policy and warfare.

Amidst much “trembling for our nation,” Bray used his platform to vent against President Bush’s labeling of militant Islamists as “Islamo-fascists.” Bray noted that Bush should retake some poli-sci classes and that “nothing in the tenets of Islam” promotes fascism.

Oh really? Back in 1979, Italian historian Michael Leeden defined Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a “clerical fascist.” Why? Because Khomeini was a supremacist – he wanted Islam to rule the world. In 1942, Khomeini wrote, “(T)hose who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.People cannot be made obedient except with the sword!”

Bahraini journalist Omran Salman, in a piece appearing in the Aug. 31 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote, “What would (you) suggest calling people who intend to blow themselves up in commercial airplanes, taking thousands of innocent lives with them? Flying angels? Kamikazes?”

The most critical flaw regarding Peek, Gockel, and Bray is that they fail to recognize how fatalistically determined militant Muslims are in their war on America and the West. They would rather see America’s safety and survival jeopardized instead of encouraging the country’s fight against a dangerous enemy. In their eyes, America is the bad guy, while terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah are gracious and legitimate governments.

If views like these are ever converted into policy, the prairies of freedom will soon be flooded with something far worse than water.

Trevor Sides is a junior speech communication major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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