Saturday, September 11, 2010

Flying and Landing in Allah's Way

Among all the strange events this week, a little diddly protocol lapse during an Iftar gala hosted by the State Department on Wednesday caught my attention. The annual dinner for the country’s Muslim leaders and diplomatic corps of the Islamic world during the Ramadan became de rigeur under the Clinton administration and continued with Condolezza Rice.

There is, I suppose, no great harm in a little patronage gesture to celebrate a religious minority, even though I am frankly puzzled by the insistence on calling the event Iftar. I understand it is a Muslim religious festivity, a communal meal breaking the daylight fasting during Ramadan. The ceremony seems meaningless to non-believers who presumably eat during the days of the month during which, according to tradition, prophet Muhammad received his first revelation. It seems to me then that if some gesture of inclusiveness during this special time for Muslims is due, it should come from them. The remarks by Barack Obama that the tradition of American presidents hosting Iftar dinners for Muslim guests goes back to Thomas Jefferson are a bit cockeyed urban legend to justify the new nomenclatura. According to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, the Tunisian envoy in question declined an invitation to dine with the President at three-thirty in the afternoon explaining his religious duty. The courteous president simply rescheduled the invitation to an hour after sunset.

No matter: the issue I really have is with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s protocol regarding the Florida cuckoo believed to be a pastor by fifty lost souls. First off though, in case you did not know, an insane man in Canada decapitated a passenger on Greyhound bus and consumed part of his victim last year. No editorial or diplomatic activity issued from this incident that would give cause to riots and large scale property damage. No speeches by religious leaders, politicians or dieticians followed to quell fear of the Scots of being targeted by the Chinese. But naturally I understand that the Secretary just could not pass the book-burning threat in dignified silence after the Defence Secretary himself picked up the phone to beg the pastor to spare American lives in Kabul.

To Whom Is the Quran holy ?

I have no big criticism of what the Secretary of State said but I do take exception at her describing the book as ‘the holy Quran’. She should have chosen her words more carefully. She could have said ‘Muslim holy scripture’, 'Islam's holy book,'or as the New York mayor did, ‘a book which his holy to Muslims’. If I were an American I would be outraged at the insinuation that somehow the book deserves to be held up by objective standard as some sort of a national treasure which is above criticism. No way the Quran should be burned. It needs to be read by everyone in America and the West; it needs to be studied, appreciated, remembered and referred to when pointing to Muslims things which we (Non-muslims) have insurmountabe difficulty with, that is, if we are referred back to Islam's seventh-century scripture as the last valid standard of civility.

Examples: Quran preaches religious apartheid explicitly denying the ecumenical character which would justify Mme Secretary (who is a Christian) appealing to it as 'holy' on religious grounds.

Muhammad vowed,

I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship(sura 109:1).

Of course that was the kinder, gentler prophet of the early days when he believed that there is no compulsion in religion. Later revelations were not so easy going or forgiving to the unbelievers :

Give courage to the believers. I will cast terror into the hearts of the infidel. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off the tips of their fingers. (sura 8:12)

As for instructions how to deal with dignitaries such as the Secretary who curry favour as hosts with the believers in their religious festivities, not take from among them [infidels] friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back [to their homes], then seize them and kill them wherever you find them(sura 4:89).

Whatever one may say, all of what the book says about the relations of the Muslim community to the outside world – which the religion's founding dynasties sought transparently to conquer and subjugate – should be totally unacceptable as a blueprint for modern, secular state based on principles of peaceful co-existence among nations, and the rule of globally recognized principles of justice. The First Amendment guarantees everyone the right to practice the faith of their choice. However, it should be unacceptable for an administration official to accede to claims of one religion over others by calling its scripture 'holy' without qualification. This is especially a case with a minority faith whose traditional religious precepts for dealings with outsiders are at odds with the elementary rules of civilized norms of behaviour, and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Just in case you missed it, the 1948 UDHR was replaced in the Islamic world in 1990 by its own separate charter, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam . Needless to say, the new document is wholly rooted in sharia, and therefore does not guarantee decadent 'western' heresies such as a freedom of religion or the equality of genders. )

Madam Secretary seems oblivious to the bigger picture and what message she, as the senior administration official projects is sending to the Islamic world. First and foremost she needs to grasp that contrary to the disinformation of the major U.S. media outlets, the new flames of passion are to ensure her willingness to fly in Allah’s way, not that of some random Christian fundamentalist firebug. When fanatical mullahs and imams send vicious mobs into the streets of Kandahar, Peshawar, Isfahan or Bandung and threaten Americans everywhere on the globe it is to strike terror in her heart and in the heart of those presently administering the self-destructing ship that is America.

It is frankly unbelievable to me that there has not been one major commentator in the US who would point to this tactic. These violent street protests and large threats are not spontaneous cries of the ordinary Muslims. They are either carefully orchestrated media events or a happy feeding off them by the religious leaders. They have but two simple aims : to intimidate Americans and to divert attention from the real issues. The real issue in this case - let us not mince words or be inoffensive in the face of a ghoulish provocation - is assuring American compliance in a memorial to the Islamic fanatics and mass murderers who assaulted the United States as the symbol of political and economic power in the world nine years ago on this day. Mr Rauf says he acquired the precious location to push back against the extremists. Does that mean al-Qaeda was bidding too to acquire the property ?

The Importance of Being Terry Jones

The Terry Jones’ shenanigans are not so much a media conspiracy as they are an exhibit of the detached bottom in the manufacturing of news. The Guardian’s brief history of the media escalation is very revealing in this respect. It seems clear though that the hype around Jones outside of the U.S. was fuelled or controlled by the mosques and madrassas and turned on full throttle after Obama back-pedalled on his support for the Lower Manhattan project, messing things for himself and creating a surge of public opposition. To stem the growing uproar, the Florida pastor was dressed up as the ubiquitous American ugly bigot who threatens peaceable Muslims, and impassionate pleas (and threats) were rained on him to call off his ‘International (Good Lord!) Koran Burning Day’. Obvious attempts then were made to paint the critics of the Islamic centre project on Ground Zero, as part of a socially retrograde red-neck elements in American society led by a Quran-burning zealot. To this end Jones was 'invited' to New York to meet Mr Rauf. Whatever was or was not promised, it is clear that the clever clerics shanghaied the hapless twit, in linking his idiocies explicitly to his opposition of the great project of peace, dialogue and healing in America. Would any reasonable person give quarter to one like Terry Jones, and those like him who oppose the holy project ? Of course not. Terry has been sent packing without being allowed into the presence of the imam.

The UA Flight 175 Landing Gear as Islamist Relic

So, barring a miracle (of common sense and goodwill prevailing), the shrine to the landing gear of the UA Flight 175 in which the great majority of the 65 souls on board was flown in Allah's way against their will on September 11, 2001, shall be erected. The symbolism of the locale is crystal clear and accessible to both friends and enemies of the US, home and abroad. This is where some of the wreckage of one of the two flights to Allah landed and gutted the building on that day of divine judgment. It is hallowed ground for the martyrs who sacrificied their lives in jihad against the great Satan.

This is Mr Rauf's project as it is seen by everyone, especially the insane leaders of the mosques convinced in the just cause and reality of their world conquest. He himself markets his mosque as
dawah (invitation or summons to become Muslim)from Ground Zero!!! The picture to the left is his Malaysian publication, titled: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawah in the Heart of America post 9/11. Only the American idiots don't get it. They, with small exceptions (some of whom are sadly but inevitably idiots of a different kind), are mesmerized like the hapless townsfolk of Constantinople by the whirling dervishes under their bastions coming at the head of great armies of Mehmed II.

By the way, do not get me wrong on this: I am a great admirer of Rumi (the founder of Mawlawi Sufism and the whirling dervish dance) perhaps the greatest mystical poet of any age or culture. Here is what he says from beyond space and time, as an American on 9/11 2010:

You wreck my shop and my house and now my heart,
but how can I run from what gives me life ?

I am weary of personal worrying,
in love with the art of madness !

Tear open my shame and show the mystery.

How much longer do I have to fret with
self-restraint and fear ?

But finally, (I hope I understand Rumi's mystery well): who cares if American elite has suddenly lost the grasp of what makes a man, a woman, or a nation respected among their peers ? Who cares if Muslims are insensitive to people who do not know how to respect themselves ?

In the embrace of God, every thing is holy: those who lie mutilated on the ground; and those who mutilated them in whatever cause under heaven. The universe is unfolding as it should.

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