Illustrations of Islamophobia Part II (and a little bit of hope)

On another blog, I just came upon this speech given by Newt Gingrich.  He discusses America’s major security threats, namely “radical Islamists”.  He says clearly that we are not at war with terrorism–which is news to me.  He claims that we are endangered by an Islamic threat.

I obviously do understand that America has been attacked by terrorists who claim to adhere to Islam.  (The version of Islam I know, the version that some of my best friends practice, is not the bastardization of religion that the terrorists believe in.)  But Newt seems to be implying that we are at war with Islam as a religion.  He says that we need to uproot the mosques that teach violence and hatred.  Yes, I’m sure there are mosques that teach hate, as there are churches and synagogues that do so, but the vast majority of these places of worship do not.  Newt does not make that distinction; he generalizes, making it appear that all mosques teach violence.

He also demonizes sharia law, which is something that he, and much of the West, greatly misunderstand.  The term has come to be seen as synonymous with oppression of women and denial of religious freedom, so when Newt uses it in that context, if further embeds that misunderstood view in the minds of Americans.

In order to avoid a Shirley Sherrod issue, I have posted two videos.  The first is the shorter, clipped version that just shows Newt’s comments relating to Islam.  Here is the full video to make clear that the first clips are not taken out of context and painting a picture of Newt’s remarks that he did not intend.  Sadly, Newt did intend what he said…

Lastly, like the blogger I got this video from, I find it ironic that he says we must stop the Islamization of the U.S. and Europe and then criticizes the “secular” Democrats.  So both Islam (religion) and secularism (no religion) are bad…? What is acceptable then?  Though he wouldn’t admit it, it is clear his answer would only include Christianity.

On a happier note, I came across a post today about how it is our religious duty as Christians to support our Muslims friends and fight the kind of prejudice that people like Newt are spewing.  Here is a quote from Amanda’s post that echoes my own feelings, I say loving my Muslim neighbors as myself is the highest articulation of my Faith and its most convincing moment. Check out her awesome blog here.  Sometimes I get discouraged by people who perpetrate Islamophobia, but it is posts like these that give me hope that change is possible.  (Sorry for all the “hope-y, change-y stuff.”) 🙂

Arab poet Taha Muhammad Ali

I just stumbled on this video on YouTube of a poetry reading given by Taha Muhammad Ali, a renowned Palestinian poet.  His poem, “Revenge”, is beautiful in Arabic and English, and its message is one that we must often be reminded of–that hate should not breed hate.

I think I’ll be picking up his book, So What: New and Selected Poetry: 1971-2005

Israel: Denying right to free speech

This report from Al Jazeera English discusses Israel’s increasing crackdown on organizations and individuals who dissent against the government or support Palestinian causes.  If other recent incidents have not compelled the American government to reconsider its support of Israel, than this must.  Rather than cling to an increasingly false notion that Israel is the democratic and free society we want it to be, the U.S. needs to rethink its blind support of this repressive government.

Must watch video: Obama administration eats up Fox News’ bait

This is a must-watch segment from the Rachel Maddow show (click on “Fox News fabrication works again”.  Those of you who may be hesitant to watch it because it is from an MSNBC program, please take the five minutes to watch it anyway.

The segment discusses the recent firing of a Dept of Ag official for her supposedly “racist” attitude and actions–I’m sure most of you have heard the story.  The firing was prompted by Fox News’ incomplete and untrue coverage of the official’s statements.

I think Rachel’s assessment of Fox News’ actions and the Obama Administration’s sad response is spot on.  I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.