VOA News last Thursday published a ridiculous article that, unfortunately, reflects all-too-common assumptions: “President Obama Seeks to Bridge Differences with Islam,” by Jerome Socolovsky. It begins:
U.S. President Barack Obama has again postponed his trip to Indonesia because of pressing issues in the U.S. The trip is part of his ongoing effort to reach out to Muslims worldwide. Last year, he gave a speech in Cairo that was considered a landmark in the effort to bridge differences between Islam and the West. Many Muslims believe he should do more [sic]
No one seems to think that Muslims have any responsibility to “bridge differences between Islam and the West.” No, everyone, from Barack Obama to Jerome Socolovsky, and everyone in between, knows that the conflict is all the West’s fault. Note how Jerome Socolovsky frames the conflict:
Frictions between Islam and the West often flare up – like when when a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed – or when Muslim girls in Europe went to school wearing veils, or new minarets in Switzerland were banned.
Note that he mentions nothing about, say, “frictions” “flaring up” when Muslims, acting in the name of Islam and jihad, murder thirteen Americans in cold blood at Fort Hood, or murder two American soldiers in Little Rock, Arkansas, or murder one and wound five in a Jewish Community Center in Seattle, or plow into a crowd of students, trying to murder as many as possible, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Etc.
No, none of that makes “frictions” “flare up.” Instead, “frictions” only “flare up” when a Danish newspaper has the temerity to publish cartoons of the “Prophet Mohammed” — as the mainstream media universally designates him these days, as if we’re all Muslims now. Jerome Socolovsky gives no hint that he, or any reasonable person, may think that it’s sheer madness or worse to go around murdering innocent people, or even demanding free speech restrictions, because of a few cartoons. As far as he is concerned, the cartoons — not Islamic jihad mass murders — make “frictions” “flare up.”
And as if cartoons of Muhammad weren’t bad enough, Europeans — xenophobic and benighted as ever — get angry when “Muslim girls in Europe went to school wearing veils.” See how Jerome Socolovsky loads the dice? No mention of jihad terror attacks — oh, no. Instead, “frictions” only “flare up” when poor little Muslim girls in Europe simply want to live according to the tenets of their own culture. How cruel and ethnocentric those Europeans are! They even banned “new minarets in Switzerland” — no mention, of course, of how much more severely restricted is non-Islamic religious practice all over the Islamic world.
And then there comes this sage observation:
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also complicated America’s relationship with the Islamic world.
As longtime Jihad Watch readers know, I have never favored the foredoomed democracy projects-cum-social work exercises in Iraq or Afghanistan, but Jerome Socolovsky’s assumption here seems to be that the adventures in both countries were some kind of unprovoked provocation. He makes no mention of 9/11, or of the Taliban’s depredations, or of Saddam Hussein’s reckless belligerence.
Last year, President Obama went to Cairo hoping to change that. He extended the traditional Muslim greeting, and said while he is a Christian, his father’s family includes generations of Muslims. “I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning, between the United States and Muslims around the world,” he said.
He declared that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, but is against violent extremists who exploit the tensions between Islam and the West.
Those tensions go all the way back to the Crusades – when Christian armies invaded the Holy Land.
True to form, Jerome Socolovsky makes no mention of the 450 years of jihad attacks that had conquered and Islamized over half of Christendom long before the first Crusade was even called, and to which the Crusades were a late and small-scale defensive reaction.
But there have also been times of harmony like in medieval Spain….
Even Maria Rosa Menocal, in her hagiographical book The Ornament of the World, admits that “times of harmony” went only so far in Muslim Spain, which institutionalized discrimination against Jewish and Christian dhimmis: “The dhimmi, as these covenanted peoples were called, were granted religious freedom, not forced to convert to Islam. They could continue to be Jews and Christians, and, as it turned out, they could share in much of Muslim social and economic life. In return for this freedom of religious conscience the Peoples of the Book (pagans had no such privilege) were required to pay a special tax — no Muslims paid taxes and to observe a number of restrictive regulations: Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals.” (Pp. 72-3)
So much for a paradise of tolerance and multiculturalism. Historian Kenneth Baxter Wolf observes that “much of this new legislation aimed at limiting those aspects of the Christian cult which seemed to compromise the dominant position of Islam.” After enumerating a list of laws much like Menocal’s, he adds: “Aside from such cultic restrictions most of the laws were simply designed to underscore the position of the dimmîs as second-class citizens.”
But Jerome Socolovsky, ignorant of all this, goes on to say that Obama needs to hop to it, abandoning Israel and stopping defending ourselves against the global jihad:
Professor Ahmad El Tayeb of Al Azhar University in Cairo said the President’s speech there was a landmark. “I was there, and I admired that speech very much. But we are still waiting to see practical results,” he said.
He says the U.S. shouldn’t side with Israel or fight wars in Muslim countries….
Yeah, that’ll fix it.