Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cause for Concern

There is, I think, a puzzlement among many Americans as to why there's so much concern over bringing Muslim refugees to our shores. Some Americans seem to think that Islam is sort of like any other religion, but I think this is a misunderstanding of Islam. Moreover, the misunderstanding includes the view that only a small percentage of Muslims are extremists, and that it's worth the risk to bring them into our country to increase diversity and broaden the tax base.

I say this is a misunderstanding because most Muslims, in fact almost all devout Muslims, adhere to Koranic law, i.e. sharia. If they do not follow sharia they're often not considered true Muslims by their co-religionists, even if they faithfully observe the five pillars of Islam, and over 80% of Muslims emigrating from most of the countries listed on President Trump's travel ban executive order believe sharia should be the governing law of whatever country they reside in.

In June I posted some thoughts on the notion of moderate Islam which I'd like to rerun here to help readers understand why there's concern and why so many people who are sympathetic to the plight of refugees nevertheless support Mr. Trump's EO:
Last January I did a post on moderate Islam which quoted at length from a column by former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy who argued that the idea of moderate Islam is something of a myth. There are no moderate Muslims, he maintained. There are Muslims and there are apostates (who, according to Islamic doctrine, deserve to be killed) and that covers the spectrum of Islamic belief.

People in the West, so accustomed to the notion that in everything there's a wide diversity of opinion, have a hard time accepting that many Muslims don't see things that way. At least they don't see Islam that way.

The following video features a Muslim speaker named Fahad Qureshi addressing an audience in Norway in 2013 on this very matter. He's attempting to make the point, a point of which he obviously approves, that, although Westerners often try to minimize it, the belief that gays should be killed and women subjugated to men and stoned to death if caught in adultery are in fact mainstream Muslim beliefs. They're not the beliefs of a fringe group of radicals, Qureshi insists, they're views taken directly from the Koran:
Keep in mind that Qureshi was addressing a mostly Muslim audience in liberal Norway. Toward the end he asked a question everyone should be asking as President Obama opens the floodgates to millions of middle eastern Muslims:
What are the politicians going to say now? What is the media going to say now? That we are all extremists? That we are all radicals? That we need to deport all of us from this country?
Actually, no. In the wake of Orlando [the terrorist massacre at The Pulse nightclub] the media I've seen, in a masterful diversion of viewers' attention, has been talking mostly about the need for gun control.

Imagine, though, the uproar had a politically conservative fanatic committed the atrocity in the Orlando night club, and a video like this had subsequently been found to have been made at a gathering of Tea-Partiers. If the views held almost unanimously by this audience of Muslims were held by even a significant minority of any group of conservative non-Muslim Americans they would be anathematized, persecuted, and endlessly ridiculed. Yet Muslims are given a pass. Their views are ignored. Why?

An anonymous gay activist in a letter quoted in Tuesday's post highlights the Left's hypocrisy:
I also now realize, with brutal clarity, that in the progressive hierarchy of identity groups, Muslims are above gays. Every pundit and politician -- and that includes President Obama and Hillary Clinton and half the talking heads on TV -- who today have said "We don't know what the shooter's motivation could possibly be!" have revealed to me their true priorities: appeasing Muslims is more important than defending the lives of gay people. Every progressive who runs interference for Islamic murderers is complicit in those murders, and I can no longer be a part of that team.

I'm just sick of it. Sick of the hypocrisy. Sick of the pandering. Sick of the deception.
So should every American be.
Later, I elaborated on how we might think about the views expressed in the above video and wrote this:
One thing I think we can say about sharia is that it's not what Westerners would call "moderate" or "progressive."

Suppose you found yourself among a group of people which, it eventually became clear to you,...
  • held approximately the same views about gays as the Westboro Baptists, only worse.
  • held approximately the same views about women as Jim Crow era southerners held about blacks.
  • held approximately the same views about Jews as did the Nazis.
  • held approximately the same views about freedom of religion as did medieval inquisitors.
  • held approximately the same views about freedom of speech as does the North Korean government
  • held approximately the same views about human equality as do proponents of the Hindu caste system.
  • held approximately the same views about church/state separation as fundamentalist theocrats.
  • held views regarding criminal justice that endorsed cruel and unusual punishments like cutting off the hands of thieves, whipping adulterers, hanging gays, and killing apostates.
Would you call that group "moderate"? Would you call them "progressive"? Yet these are views held by large numbers of mainstream Muslims, not just in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, but in Europe and the U.S. A Pew poll found that a majority of American Muslims prefer sharia, and one in four accepts the use of violence against other Americans who give offense to Islam, for instance, by caricaturing Mohammed.
Let us do all we can to aid and comfort those, both Christian and Muslim, who are experiencing hellish suffering at the hands of Assad's military, ISIS, and al Qaeda Islamists, but let us not be blinded by compassion or political correctness to the realities of the belief system held by most of the people we're bringing into this country. Many of them do not want to assimilate, they do not want to become Westernized, and they do not want to moderate their convictions. If that's true we're possibly setting up many refugees and other Muslim immigrants for alienation, bitterness and resentment that could one day boil over into violence, the kind of awful mayhem already visited upon Paris, Nice, Berlin and Brussels in recent years.

Ignoring the cultural dissonance between Islam and the West is not a solution to the problem and will not prevent tragedy from happening.