What does Islam stand for today?
As someone who has lived in the Muslim world, enjoyed the friendship of many Muslims there and seen the compassionate side of Islam in action, I have to admit I am confused as to what Islam stands for today.
Why? On the first day of Ramadan last year a Sunni Muslim suicide bomber blew up a Shiite mosque in Hilla, Iraq, in the middle of a memorial service, killing 25 worshipers. This year on the first day of Ramadan, a Sunni suicide bomber in Baghdad killed 35 people who were lining up in a Shiite neighborhood to buy fuel. The same day, the severed heads of nine murdered Iraqi police officers and soldiers were found north of Baghdad.I don’t get it. How can Muslims blow up other Muslims on their most holy day of the year — in mosques! — and there is barely a peep of protest in the Muslim world, let alone a million Muslim march? Yet Danish cartoons or a papal speech lead to violent protests. If Muslims butchering Muslims — in Sudan, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan — produces little communal reaction, while cartoons and papal remarks produce mass protests, what does Islam stand for today?
I linked to some stuff earlier in the week which made clear exactly how I feel about the subject. Muslim hypocrisy on issues such as freedom of speech and, more importantly, the killing of innocent Muslims is mind boggling. Anger on the Muslim/Arab street, I feel, is almost as much a psychological issue as it is a politcal/legal one. Think about the anger Israel arouses, with its treatment of Muslims. Now compare that to Saddam Hussein's treatment of Muslims. Or to al-Assad's treatment of Sunnis and the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 80s. Or to the Taliban's treatment of all Muslims, but especially women and the Hazara after their capture of Mazar-i-Sharif, brilliantly captured in The Kite Runner. Why is their such a discrepancy? Why does one lead to protests, explosions, riots, and vandalism and the other to "shit happens"? Can we get Malcolm Gladwell on this, please?
In my mind, there are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the inner-city black community in the U.S. and the Muslim world. Both have been hard done by, and never properly apologized to. But both also have to, at some point, step up and accept responsiblity for some of the shit that goes on in their midst. You can't keep blaming someone else for your problems. Is it an evil Zionist-Crusader conspiracy that the entire Muslim world has something like 500 universities (less than one-tenth of those in the U.S., by the way), and not one of them in the world's top 500? And is it the neo-imperialist's fault that the all of the Arab countries put together have a lower GDP than that of Spain? Spain! They friggin drink wine with their breakfast, take 2 hour naps during their work day, and still have enough time left to out-produce an entire region. What does that say about the region in question?
Anyways, that's my rant for the day. One of our three readers says I need to calm down with my posts. So I'm calming down and stopping here.