Posted by Wordsmith on 11 May, 2008 at 10:16 am. 47 comments already!

Muslims attend Eid-al-Fitr prayers on a street in Mumbai, India. Muslims across the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.Punit Paranjpe, Reuters

Most people assume that bigotry and prejudice are born of ignorance. Of a lack of education. This is true. But I think it is also based upon an overabundance of “slanted” knowledge.

Like many FA readers, after 9/11, I steeped myself in literature of the Robert Spencer-variety, warning me of the dangers of (radical/political ) Islam. Anyone who wanted to define Islam as “a religion of peace” was ridiculed as being asleep and ignorant; of having drunk the political correctness kool-aid and multiculturalist nonsense. And they were right.

But now, I think we have become so “educated” on Islam, that as mostly outsiders looking in, we have only educated ourselves to the opposite extreme, in our views. And that is just as damaging to fighting and winning the war against Islamic terror as it is to deny that we are engaged in a real war with a radical movement. Yes, radical. Not normative, but extremist, radicalism.

I know allies of mine on the right insist that radical Islam is the norm; that there is no such thing as a “moderate” Muslim, unless he be an apostate to the religion of Islam. And they will point me to all the passages from the Hadith and Koran that I’m already familiar with, and tell Muslims that they know Islam better than the Muslims themselves know Islam. Great.

A devout Muslim tells you he is peaceful, and you tell him, “No you’re not; and if you are, you don’t know Islam. You’re not a real Muslim, because I read Robert Spencer’s books and know better than you do about your own faith; you don’t get to define it, who practice it; I get to define it for you, who studies a slant side of it.” Merely reading anti-Islamic books and taking the Koranic word literally, isn’t necessarily education. It’s an important part of our education; but when you are only immersed in a one-sided viewpoint with an agenda, then that becomes propaganda. Propaganda from the right, countering propaganda from the left. Somewhere amidst all of that, lies the reality.

Michelle Malkin is a high-profile blogger of great influence, with many “fans” on the right side of the blogosphere.

Amy Proctor’s reaction to one of Malkin’s latest entries, is shared by myself as well. By way of Bottomline Upfront:

Michelle Malkin’s appalling new series on her blog, Stuff Muslims Don’t Like: A new feature, is inflammatory, insulting and ignorant. My husband is a MSG in the Army and a Religious Leader Engagement subject matter expert in the war on terror, particularly relating to Iraq, and he is equally appalled. She justifies her series by comparing it to a blog called Stuff White People Like:

“Of course, Stuff Muslims Don’t Like doesn’t purport to characterize the entire Muslim population anymore than Stuff White People Like purports to characterize the entire population of white people. It’s a look at predictable predilictions, proclivities, and trends.”

Sure it doesn’t, Michelle. She makes no distinction between an entire population and whoever her swipes are intended for. Her flawed analogy doesn’t consider that Islam is a religion, not a race.

A sign of a mature, 21st century-evolved religion, is one that is thick-skinned enough to endure irreverent humor and insults without flying off the handle. So someone like Bill Maher enjoys the freedom to slander the Pope and insult a great religion and we have the freedom to criticize him for it. Bill Maher isn’t courageous, since he knows Catholic Crusadists aren’t going to come after him and take his life; all he can whine about in terms of persecution and freedom of speech, is if his HBO show has the plug pulled because we exercised our freedom of speech in expressing our indignation and dissatisfaction. Real courage is standing up to the Islamic crazies. It’s when Iraqis like,

Abu Ali said that on 1 April 2007, he and his people attacked al Qaeda in Buhriz for their crimes against Islam. He also said something that many Muslims have said to me: al Qaeda are not Muslims. (Both Sunni and Shia have said nearly the exact same words, at times on video.)

Abu Ali said that “al Qaeda is an abomination of Islam: cutting off heads, stealing people’s money, kidnapping . . . every type of torture they have done.”

Muslims like him, who oppose the hirabahists, should be embraced as the true adherence to Islam. The majority of Muslims who are not plotting to subjugated the entire world under Islamic fundamentalism should be allowed to define who and what they are; not the armchair Spencerian Islamic scholars and not the Zawahiris and Qutbists.

You say you want to win the War on Terror? Win in Iraq? How does that instill confidence in Abu Ali that he chose not only the winning side by allying with the U.S., but also that he chose the right side, when we lash out as his religion, as a whole, rather than surgically zero in on the Wahhabists, Salafi fundamentalists, and Qutbist ideologists who are waging war on everyone, including on Muslims?

Amy Proctor writes further,

It goes on with comments of blathering ignorance of proportions that make me shudder. Do Malkin readers hold those views toward this man and his son? Or these Muslim women who are laying down their lives for their country? How about this man? Or these blind children and their amazing teacher? They’re Muslim, too. How about this Muslim who teaches children that the United States is their friend? Or this man and his son? Or these Muslims who reached out to the Vatican in a gesture of unity and peace? How about this Iraqi volunteer who saved U.S. troops and civilians by throwing himself on a suicide bomber? Funny, because I thought she and her readers typically praise these Muslims

Muslims have been losing their lives, fighting against al-Qaeda and other Islamic terror networks. American Muslims such as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (if CAIR is the Jesse Jackson Rainbow/PUSH Coalition of the Muslim community, Jasser is like the Michael Steele of American Muslims) acknowledges that his faith needs reformation and modernization; telling devout Muslims like him that Islam cannot be reformed, or it’s no longer Islam, is like telling all the branches of Christianity that continue to spring up that they are not true Christianity, because they don’t practice the faith as it was practiced two thousand years ago (or is it 6,000?).

No, I’m not drawing a moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam. I’m neither a Biblical nor Koranic scholar, and am not talking about theological tenets. I realize that at their core, they have fundamental differences. Christianity has evolved. I find that a portion of the Muslim world is still rooted in 12th and 7th century cultural-thinking and beliefs.

Michael Totten points to a part of the Islamic world that has embraced modernity…and they aren’t even in the United States:

I’m writing this from the capital of Kosovo, the least “scary” Muslim country on Earth. I’ve grown accustomed to moderate Muslims after living in and traveling to places like Beirut and Istanbul, but Kosovo is surprising even to me. Islam in this country is so thoroughly liberal (“moderate” doesn’t quite cover it) that, if it weren’t for the mosques, there would be no visible evidence that Kosovo is a Muslim country at all. I’ve been in Prishtina, the capital, for four days, and I can count the number of women I’ve seen wearing a hijab on one hand. Aside from the conservative dating culture, women here are as liberated as Christian women in the rest of the Balkan region.

A large number of Kosovo’s Muslims are Sufis—the most peaceful and the least fundamentalist of all the world’s Muslims. Sufis can be found in many parts of the Islamic world, but here in Kosovo they proudly proclaim that they are the most “progressive” of all.

Soft-imperial Wahhabis are trying to export their brand of Islam from the deserts of Saudi Arabia to this fertile green land. They have their work cut out for them with this crowd. Bosnia notoriously welcomed thousands of Salafist mujahideen fighters from the Arab world during Yugoslavia’s violent demise. But the Kosovo Liberation Army brusquely told them to stay the hell out of their country—even while they faced an ethnic cleansing campaign directed from Belgrade.

Amy Proctor:

Malkin and her commenters ought to be ashamed of themselves. They say they support the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq but systematically insult the allies GEN Petraeus and our troops are making on the ground in the combat zone. Their words are as poisonous as any Democrat’s who continue to call Iraqis too lazy to fight for their own country. While politicians like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich argue that a U.S. presence in the Middle East in and of itself has provoked Muslim nations to take aim at U.S. interests around the globe, it is sentiments like Michelle Malkin’s that make it more difficult for Muslims to want U.S. soldiers on their soil. If these people are the friends of the troops, who needs enemies?

Some previous posts:
One Muslim’s Jihad, is Another Muslim’s Hirabah
LA Screening of Islam vs. Islamists
Dhimmi Я NOT Us
Understanding Counter-Insurgency
Islam for Dhimmis