Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What if Rauf really is "moderate"?

Christopher Hitchens has a current piece on the Mosque-troversy. Besides hoping that means his cancer treatments are gong well, I would like to examine what he has to say. He dismisses the objections of many on the right as "stupid and demagogic," but continues:
From the beginning, though, I pointed out that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was no great bargain and that his Cordoba Initiative was full of euphemisms about Islamic jihad and Islamic theocracy . . .

Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything "offensive" to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
Which sounds like the problem might be terrorism after all, doesn't it? Leaving that point aside, Hitchens presents his reservations as pertaining to Rauf himself. I wonder, however, if the left is correct, in a sense, that Rauf is the face of Muslim moderation. In other words, I hate to break it to you, Clash of Civilizations Fans, but it's him or nothing--all the non-marginal alternatives are worse. Or worse still, perhaps the alternatives are actually more of the same, minus Rauf's obviously ample marketing abilities.

I am not trying to make some point about the essential nature of Islam. The good thing about not being a Muslim is that you don't have to believe Islam has an essence--it is whatever its adherents make of it. Unfortunately, nowadays that mostly involves funding from oil sheikdoms and the sort of ideology they favor, which usually seems to come from Egypt.

See the rest of what Hitchens has to say to learn "why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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