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May 2011
Steve K
Wed, Feb. 8th, 2006 07:09 pm
Saladin, Suleiman, and others

It appears there is still a great deal of violence in the Muslim world related to the illustrations published in a Danish newspaper back in Sept.  Though I respect their beliefs, mass rioting and chaos spanning across nations are not the way to rebut the image of Muhammed being a terrorist.  Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?  I also have a difficult time relating to their outrage when I think about what Christians are subjected to all the time in this country in the name of "free expression."  There are multiple instances of holy Christian images being smeared with feces or dunked in urine or other desecrations, but we're supposed to go along with it because it's a free country.  If that kind of thing depicted Muhammed, I can't imagine what the reaction would be from the Middle East!  The Gospels talk about Jesus being mocked and despised by the world, it seems that still happens even now.  So, I have a little trouble getting my dander up when certain adherents of Islam are acting as instruments of destruction and terror over a cartoon.

The other thing that pisses me off about the Middle East is that they are always referring to the Crusades and constantly point to those times as an example of Christian aggression.  What they fail to mention is that Christians weren't marching on Mecca or Medina, just Jerusalem, and that Saladin eventually kicked some ass.  Before that time, the Moors crossed the Pyrennes in an attempt to conquer Western Europe and had to be stopped at the Battle of Tours.  After the Crusades, Muslim forces conquered Constantinople in 1453-- the center of Eastern Christianity.  This would be like if Christians tried to storm Medina, with Rome being the equivalent of Mecca.  They took over ancient centers of Christian learning, such as Antioch and Alexandria.  For good measure, Suleiman tried to burn down Vienna in the 1500's when bad weather forced him to turn around.  So, I have a bit of a problem with the notion of sole "Western aggression" and such.  I agree that American policies in the Middle East have been deeply flawed over the last 50 years or so, we tended to view the people of the region as pawns in the battle against communism.  However, I think the more forceful elements of Islam have done their fair share of violence and conquest over the centuries.  When they offer to turn those cities and citizens back to Christianity, I might be a bit more sympathetic.

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Thu, Feb. 9th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)

Hear hear!

Thu, Feb. 9th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
crazy muslims

hey dude-
yo. as a muslim myself i find those people who are burning crap and blwoing things up to be ....PSYCHO TERDWADS.

I am not for crusades on either side. damn, we're like COUSINS.
I'm part of a listserv where a VERY heated debate is going on amongst muslims- 99.9 percent of people on there, however, would side with my views....

Steve K
Thu, Feb. 9th, 2006 03:19 am (UTC)
Re: crazy muslims

I was hoping you would throw your two cents in, I was interested to read your thoughts. I was reading Newsweek yesterday and Fareed Zakaria was writing about how there are actually almost more large radical groups scattered throughout Europe than in the Middle East itself. He pointed out that the people in the ME as a whole grudgingly accepted dictators over the decades rather than wholesale Islamic caliphates like some of the more extreme groups have envisioned. So, over time most of the Islamist groups moderated their messages a bit to be more socially palatable yet still retained a sense of traditionalism (especially with Wahabbism in Saudi Arabia). The problem is that they then stoke fires of their own choosing to reinforce their power. There is hardly any outcry over the kidnapping and possible torture of a female journalist in Iraq, yet a cartoon inspires rage across the region. It is, as you say, crazy. I also just wanted to put the "occupation" in Iraq and Afghanistan in a larger historical context, to reiterate that it's nothing like what's happened in the past and that both sides (Christian and Muslim) have done their share of warmongering.

I think the one thing we have had going for us in the past in America is that the people who come all the way over here genuinely want to start over and build a better life. They are sick of the blood feuds, the old fights, the chaos. I know Al Qaeda and others have been trying to recruit American citizens, but I don't think they have had much success thus far. Hopefully, that trend will continue!

ReplyThread Parent
Thu, Feb. 9th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)

Sadly, the only bit I would disagree with is: we tended to view the people of the region as pawns in the battle against communism

It has never really been about communism. The West has preconceived notions about what life is like over there... It isn't "modern"... It isn't "metropolitan"... So we are obviously better than them and must push our worldview on those poor desert people.

The fact that it isn't true. That that area is quite modern and metropolitan. It conflicts with our worldview. We want them to think the way we think, yet not compete in the world economy and not hold oil away.

Steve K
Wed, Feb. 15th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC)

So we are obviously better than them and must push our worldview on those poor desert people.
Unfortunately, I think that perception does apply to the people's general views on Africa, but I don't think it extends to the Middle East. People still remember the pyramids, Jerusalem, Babylon, etc., even if they don't think about what's over there today while they think Africa is either rain forests or the Sahara.

It has never really been about communism.
Actually, if you look at the past 50 years, the USA's policy was to support any regimes that they thought would be opposed to the Soviets. This includes not only the shah in Iran, but equipping the very mujehedin the 1980's who would turn against us before 9/11! That's why you have a 1980's photo of Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein and smiling, he was our ally against Russia at the time. You have to remember that before 1990 or so, the political landscape was completely reversed to what is now -- Soviet communism was the enemy, we wanted friendly regimes in place in the Middle East to keep oil flowing and their power at bay. Unfortunately, it's come back to bite us in the ass!

ReplyThread Parent
Zach E
Thu, Feb. 9th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I agree that both sides have definitely made mistakes and things that they thought would make things better but really made them worse. One thing in particular that I learned about on NPR was that nobody remembers that during the tenure of president ford, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA sold Iran their first nuclear reactor and encouraged them to pursue a nuclear program. Nobody here remembers that. And yet we are on Iran's case for pursuing a nuclear program.

Definitely I think most of the people who say that what they think of as a Jihad is right and holy, is completely not what the original concept was.

well, maybe this comment is a little off topic.....

Steve K
Wed, Feb. 15th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)

One thing in particular that I learned about on NPR was that nobody remembers that during the tenure of president ford, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA sold Iran their first nuclear reactor and encouraged them to pursue a nuclear program.
Exactly. As I was saying to tv_elf above, we were encouraging regimes in the Middle East during the 1970's and 80's in order to oppose communism. It's a strange twist of history that less than 30 years later, Russia is now our ally and our biggest threats come from the areas we supported in the Middle East during that time.

ReplyThread Parent