Obscure contributions to the land of war 1

Obama says that Islam has contributed much to the United States.

An editorial in the Washington Times disagrees:

Mr. Obama has used the occasion of Ramadan to rewrite U.S. history and give Islam a prominence in American annals that it has not earned.

In this year’s greeting, Mr. Obama said the rituals of Ramadan “remind us of the principles that we hold in common and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality. And here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country.”

That Islam has had a major role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings may come as a surprise to Muslim women. Young Afghan girls who are having acid thrown in their faces on the way to school might want to offer their perspectives. That Islam is “known” for diversity and racial equality is also a bit of a reach. This certainly does not refer to religious diversity, which is nonexistent in many Muslim-majority states. …

Most puzzling is the president’s claim that “Islam has always been part of America.” Islam had no influence on the origins and development of the United States. It contributed nothing to early American political culture, art, literature, music or any other aspect of the early nation.

Throughout most of American history, the Muslim world was perceived as remote, alien and belligerent. Perhaps the president was thinking about the Barbary Pirates and their role in the founding of the U.S. Navy, or Andrew Jackson’s dispatch of frigates against Muslim pirates in Sumatra in the 1830s. Maybe he was recalling Rutherford B. Hayes’ 1880 statement regarding Morocco on “the necessity, in accordance with the humane and enlightened spirit of the age, of putting an end to the persecutions, which have been so prevalent in that country, of persons of a faith other than the Moslem, and especially of the Hebrew residents of Morocco.” Or Grover Cleveland’s 1896 comment on the continuing massacre of Armenian Christians: “We have been afflicted by continued and not infrequent reports of the wanton destruction of homes and the bloody butchery of men, women and children, made martyrs to their profession of Christian faith. … It so mars the humane and enlightened civilization that belongs to the close of the nineteenth century that it seems hardly possible that the earnest demand of good people throughout the Christian world for its corrective treatment will remain unanswered.”

The editorial concludes with a horror story:

It also is customary in the United States to search for obscure contributions made by in-vogue minority groups as a feel-good way of promoting inclusion. One of the earliest Muslims to come to the United States was a 17th-century Egyptian named Norsereddin, who settled in the Catskills and was described by one chronicler as “haughty, morose, unprincipled, cruel and dissipated.” Spurned by the princess of an Indian tribe that had befriended him, he managed through a subterfuge to poison her. He was later run down by the betrayed Indians, who burned him alive. It is not the kind of tale that makes it into politically correct history books.

How do Muslims who live in the US feel about the country Obama thinks they have helped to build and strengthen and glorify?

On May 19, 2010, some American Muslims debated whether they should be loyal to America.

You can read the pros and cons here at an interesting site called Muslims for a Safe America.

The cons:

1. American Muslims have no special relationship with (or obligation to) America. American-born Muslims have given no “implicit pledge” to be loyal to America. The “Oath of Allegiance” taken by naturalized American citizens is just a formality to gain citizenship; most people who take the “Oath of Allegiance” don’t even remember the words they recited. A Muslim’s true covenant (or pledge) is with God.

2. American Muslims can be loyal to both God and country, but only if that country is [ie if America becomes] an Islamic state, governed by Islamic law (Shariah), not a country that rejects God’s law and follows man-made laws.

3. American Muslims must be loyal to the worldwide Muslim community, not to Americans of other faiths who have rejected Islam and repeatedly elected political leaders who have caused great suffering in the Muslim world. God says, “O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors), offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord!”

4. [An example to be followed.] Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed a Muslim, Naim bin Masud, to place his loyalty to the Muslim community over his loyalty to his tribe. The tribe of Banu Ghatafan and its allies besieged the Muslims of Medina (in what came to be known as the Battle of the Trench). During that siege, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) learned that Naim, a prominent member of Banu Ghatafan, had secretly become Muslim. The Prophet asked Naim to feed false information to his tribe, Banu Ghatafan, and its allies. Naim agreed. Naim’s false information helped create distrust and break the alliance between Banu Ghatafan and its allies, contributing to their failure to defeat the Muslims.

5. America and Islam have contradictory agendas and priorities, and they have different visions for the world. American Muslims cannot simultaneously support both sets of agendas, priorities, and visions.

6. American Muslims who loyally pay their taxes are funding whatever evil the American government does.

7. America is dar-ul-harb (the land of war), because America is at war with Muslims in various countries, oppresses Muslims in various countries (including in America), and seeks to dominate the Muslim world. America is dar-ul-kufr (the land of disbelief), because America has rejected Islam and actively opposes the establishment of a Caliphate in the Muslim world.

Nothing is said about a count of votes, so we don’t know which side had the greater support.

The uses of walls 1

The Berlin Wall was not defensive. It was built by the Communists to keep their serf populations from escaping. As Europe celebrates its fall, a Muslim, Shiraz Maher, writes in Standpoint about barrier walls built by Islamic states, never noticed by those who vituperatively condemn the defensive barrier Israel has erected against suicide bombers and other terrorist attackers:

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. During that time scores of other barriers and walls have gone up around the world …

Of course, the one we’ve all heard about is the Israeli security fence which attracted fierce criticism after its construction in 2003. Built in response to the Palestinian intifada which claimed more than 900 lives since September 2000, the fence has dramatically halted the number of terrorist attacks inside the country.

Excuse the pun  but from the wall-to-wall coverage it received  you could be mistaken for thinking that Israel’s decision to defend itself in this way was unprecedented. Yet, not only is this wrong but, ironically, a lot of the physical barriers currently in place are located in the ‘Muslim world’.

The Saudi-Yemeni border is just one place where a physical barrier is used by a Muslim regime to defend itself against ‘smuggling’ and ‘terrorism’. … Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen has always been problematic, providing a trafficking route for weapons smuggling. Indeed, the explosives used in the 2003 Riyadh bombings which targeted compounds housing western expatriates were blamed on Yemeni smugglers. It was not the first time Saudi Arabia blamed the Yemenis for not doing enough to stop terrorism. Yemeni smugglers are also believed to have helped facilitate the bombing campaign against US military bases in the mid-1990s.

Once the Saudi government lost confidence in Yemen’s ability to curb domestic terrorism, they decided to build a physical barrier. Much of it runs through contested territory. According to the 2000 Jeddah border treaty between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, a demilitarised ‘buffer zone’ should exist between both countries, protecting the rights of nomadic Bedouin tribes which live in the cross-border area. Yet, parts of the Saudi barrier stand inside the demilitarised zone, violating the 2000 agreement and infuriating Yemen. …

More recently, Saudi Arabia has also built a physical barrier along its border with Iraq to stop jihadists from the Kingdom going over to join the mujahideen. …

Beyond the Middle East, Iran’s 900 km border with Pakistan is currently being replaced by a concrete wall (10 feet high, 3 feet thick), fortified with steel rods. Ostensibly built to thwart drug traffickers and terrorists, the local Baloch people oppose its construction as it cuts across their land and separates communities living on either side of the divide. The opposition leader of Balochistan’s Provincial Assembley, Kachkol Ali, has bitterly opposed the wall saying his people were never consulted about it and that it cuts off families from one another. … A number of Baloch communities, particularly in the Kech district of south-western Balochistan, straddle the Iranian-Pakistani border area. After Iran began construction of its wall, many of those residing on its side were forced back across the border into Pakistan where they are separated from their families and land. …

There are plenty more examples of this within the Muslim world too. In the Western Sahara desert Morocco has built a massive wall, spanning more than 2700 km. Its primary aim is to guard against Sahrawi separatists who organised themselves into the Polisario Front – a political and terrorist movement – which seeks independence for the Sahrawi people. Much of the wall is lined with barbed wire and landmines, which is something it shares in common with parts of the Pakistan-Indian border (particularly in Kashmir).

Twenty years on from the collapse of the Berlin Wall physical barriers continue to be employed around the world. They may not be pretty, but they are effective. Indeed, even Israel’s biggest critics would have to concede that suicide bombings have fallen away sharply ever since the construction of the security fence in parts of Gaza and the West Bank. Yet, Islamists and parts of the political left obsess only about Israel but do not extend similar condemnation to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, or Pakistan. …

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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