Several days ago, I wrote about Europe and Great Britain in particular vis-a-vis Islam and terrorism and some of its implications. At the time I was attempting to read Londonistan by Melanie Phillips. I have finally managed to complete that self-assigned task. I might add that the fault is not that of the author but rather my unfamiliarity with her style and the complexity of the subject matter.
Moving forward, my intent is not to review the book but rather make reference to some things that intrigued me and speculate about what these things might or might not mean. As always dissent/disagreement is welcome. My comments do not follow the book from beginning to end since some areas were more pertinent for me than others. The author has an excellent notes section if one desires to trace her source material and pursue things further.
There are many references to people in the book with the majority of those names probably being Arabic. I won’t refer much to those individuals. Upfront i will assert that neither the author nor this writer are anti- Muslim ‘ She does however, make use of the term Islamaphobia which also appears in the American media. It refers of course to those who harbor an irrational view of the Islamic faith. An accusation of such is used at times to stifle even legitimate criticism of Islam. ( That didn’t work so well for Salmon Rushdie did it? ) She makes the point that adherents of the Muslim faith can often be sensitive to criticism( as are Christians) and use that to justify or explain away certain actions. Her starting point, the London bombings of 2005 was such a thing. Muslim leaders condemned the attacks but added that since the bombers were un-Islamic ( native Brits) they could not have been real Muslims. And this next that they added which is a relatively prominent reoccurring theme, is a concept she calls moral inversion. In general Muslims regard Western values as an assault on their principles so they present their own aggression as legitimate self- defense. Or, a country’s support of Israel or the Iraq war is ample cause for some sort of attack. Current example is related to the furor over the New york mosque/cultural center. The chairman of those efforts Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was interviewed by CBS just after 9/11. He opined that the United States did not deserve what happened but that its policies ” were an accessory to the crime.”
So what were the policies to which he referred? If you say support for Israel go the head of the class. That attitude in Britain, she writes, is even more prevalent. In Britain the prevailing wisdom regarding the Middle East is that of a territorial dispute. Before May 14, 1948 all was well between Arab and Jew and would be again if Israel acceded to legitimate Palestinian demands. The problem, that is not factual. This cannot be totally addressed here but factor in this one truth . Palestinians could have had a separate state in 1936, 1948 or 2000. Also, many Arab writers and leaders have often spoken of the inherently evil Jew out to conquer the world and they are demonized as the source of all evil in the Middle East. Let me hasten to add that Israel is not always right in its actions/methods but neither are they behind every conflict on earth as Palestinian Authority imam Ibrahim Mudayris said in 2005.
But let me continue. Let me refer to some of her conclusions but encourage the reader to interpret them on their own. Britain is a hub of Islamic jihad and has been.In Britain there continues the long-standing policy of appeasing terrorism which has now been combined with the prevailing doctrine of multiculturalism and ” victim culture.” She asserts that Britain is at a crossroads and could ease further down the road of appeasement. So the country that is the global leader of English speaking culture no longer champions those values. ( Sound a little like American education?)
She wonders if her native country will reverse its sleepwalk towards “cultural oblivion ” or sink further into disarray and drag the West down with it. Serious things to consider.
- What Obama Should Have Said About Mosque [Dispatches from the Culture Wars] (scienceblogs.com)
- CNN and Time Promote Accusation That ‘Bigotry’ is Driving Mosque Debate (newsbusters.org)
- Op-Ed: The words behind the man behind the mosque (jta.org)
The President has announced his nominee for the Supreme Court seat of the retiring John Paul Stevens. What a shock, he has picked another woman and thus according to him this will make the court look more like the country than ever before. But would Solictor General Elena Kagan actually do that? Perhaps we should take a closer look.
Now, upfront we should note that these descriptions are not meant as criticisms of the nominee, but as observations in light of what the President said. Ms Kagan is Jewish which will mean the Court would have 6 Catholics and 3 Jews. She is single and in fact has never been married. Unlike Justice Sotomayor whose humble upbringing was repaetedly stressed, Ms Kagan is the polar opposite. She is, as the New York Times puts it, “a creature of Manhattan’s liberal, intellectual Upper West Side; hardly a typical upbringing. She served on the faculty of the Chicago University Law School with guess who? Yep, Barack H Obama. How about that for irony or wonder if this is fulflling a long range goal since Kagan was on the nominee short list last time around.
So, maybe the Court will not really look more like America but just seem to . What is interesting is somethinmg that Rush brings up. Not sure if I agree wholeheatedly but it sounds very plausible. He maintains that Obama is in fact nominating himself. It has been noted that they served on the law school faculty together and it seems that her record or lack of same mirrors that of the President before he was elected. She has as her judicial hero the late Thurgood Marshall and adheres very strongly to his philosophy that the Court should exist almost solely for the benefit of the “despised and disadvantaged,” whomever the Court perceives those to be. She is reputed to be post partisan, a consensus builder, as was the president. Perhaps more telling is how she views the Constitution. And how is that? Kinda hard to say, given the paucity of the written record. But, hazarding a guess, I would use the words living and changing in there somewhere along with oh, maybe the framers didn’t really do all that great a job but we have surely improved it.
But, in all lilklihood, she will be confirmed even if all Republicans vote no, which they will not. But what will be interesting is if the topic of same-sex marriage comes up. Ms Kagan is actually on the record here. And her view is not that of the typical liberal. That just might liven up the proceedings a bit.
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