What clash of civilizations?


We’ve been hearing that for some time, that Muslims are trying to precipitate a clash or war between Islam and the West.  Islamic encroachments against western values are existential threats that imperil western democracies and peoples.  The truth is however, there are people on the western side of the divide who are just as interested in keeping ideologies separate and isolated from one another as much as the most ardent ISIS supporter and there’s no more blatant example of that than with this university professor, Larycia Hawkins.

Dr. Larycia Hawkins

Dr. Larycia Hawkins

It doesn’t help this profs case that she is female or even worse a person of color but to identify with the most evil group of people known to the western world since Hitler’s scourge, the Jews, is really the nail in her professional coffin.  Hawkins has been an associated professor of political science at Wheaton College since 2007 but it’s only now that she asserts,”that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. She did not insist that Christians and Muslims believe the same things about that one God. She did not state that Islam and Christianity are the same religion under a different name, or even that Islam is equally as true as Christianity. She did not deny that God was incarnate in Christ. Neither did she contest that the one God is the Holy Trinity. In fact, by having signed Wheaton’s Statement of Faith, she affirmed her belief in God as the Trinity and Jesus Christ as God and man, fundamental Christian convictions which, among other things, distinguish Christian faith from Islam.”

Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian institution, has disciplined a professor who put on a head scarf in solidarity with Muslims and said they worship the “same God” as Christians.

The private liberal arts college in Wheaton, Ill., said in a statement on Tuesday that Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science, had been placed on administrative leave over “significant questions regarding the theological implications” of recent remarks she made about the relationship between Christianity and Islam.

“As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith,” the statement said.

The college president, Philip G. Ryken, emphasized in a statement on Wednesday that Dr. Hawkins’s words, not her appearance in a scarf, were the issue. He said Wheaton had “no stated position on the wearing of head scarves as a gesture of care and concern for those in Muslim or other religious communities that may face discrimination or persecution.”

The college and Dr. Hawkins could not immediately be reached for comment. But the disciplinary move appeared to be in response to statements she made on Facebook this month that touched on the monotheistic similarities between the religions.

The college said that as a tenured faculty member, she was entitled to a full review over her leave status. It gave no other details on the length of her leave, its effect on her compensation, or whether she was barred from classes or from the campus.

Last Thursday, Dr. Hawkins posted photographs of herself on Facebook in a Muslim head covering, which she pledged to wear at work, in airplanes and at social events during the weeks before Christmas in solidarity with Muslims facing religious discrimination.

“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she wrote, in part. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

The next day, Wheaton College said it had received inquiries about remarks on social media by unnamed faculty about the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and their “fundamental differences.”

“Some recent faculty statements have generated confusion about complex theological matters, and could be interpreted as failing to reflect the distinctively Christian theological identity of Wheaton College,” the statement said.

Two days later, Dr. Hawkins said on Facebook that after her gesture of solidarity with Muslims, she had “received pushback almost exclusively from other Christians. The pushback has primarily centered on the claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.”

Dr. Hawkins“My wearing of the hijab as an act of advent devotion has certainly caused some to question the sincerity of my devotion,” she said.

The posts drew support on her Facebook page from people who identified themselves as her students, acquaintances at the university and friends.

One former student, Kelsie Wendelberger, who described herself as a graduate of the college, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that Dr. Hawkins was “one of my favorite, most influential professors.”

She noted that Dr. Hawkins quoted the pope, and that the Rev. Billy Graham, the evangelical minister and a graduate of Wheaton, had made similar remarks about other religions, including Muslims being “called by God.”

“Wheaton is holding a double-standard,” Ms. Wendelberger said of the leave imposed on Dr. Hawkins. “I was saddened by it. I thought they reacted the wrong way. They could have made headlines by showing a story of love, by a teacher showing solidarity.”

Censorship in North America? Oh No You Won’t


A practicing Muslim woman, who dresses much like the woman in the photo (the photographer is not the subject in this photo) took the photo below and decided to publish it in a photo exhibition in order to portray the “other” side of Muslim women who appear in public like this. Islamically, there is nothing prohibited in this photo, as far as I can tell, but someone who saw it decided something was wrong with it and removed it.  You can read about the story here.  Once it became politicized it took on a life  of its own, deals were made, foreign governments were contacted and it became a sordid tale of censorship in Canada.  To this observer it’s another example of suppressing the right of women to determine their own voice but in this case that objectification comes from the right. For that reason, I want Sooraya Graham’s voice to be heard here on Miscellany101. 

No Comment


Another One Bites the Dust—Hooray!


Sometimes it takes an injustice to point out another injustice. The Right is howling about the lack of due process or censorship of Juan Williams’ free speech rights after he was fired from NPR for his incendiary remarks on FoxNews’ Bill O’Reilly show.  Once again, they are claiming some type of victim status for Williams who was awarded THE VERY NEXT DAY with a $2 million FoxNews contract to continue spewing his venom, albeit free speech venom, for all those on the Right who love fear but hate their fellow citizens or mankind.

However, in reply to this hypocritical diatribe from the Right I have six words for you

Rick Sanchez, Helen Thomas, Octavia Nasir

Now for a more elaborate and appropriate response, I suggest checking Glen Greenwald here.  Oh and before I go, does anyone from the Right recognize this face?

Those of you interested in “free speech” should ask Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who the man pictured above is and then let’s talk about the First amendment.

A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS


We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.

We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.

We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims.  We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.

We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.

As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance,  respect, and forgiveness.

The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).

Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.

We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.

We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence.  We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.

After the above declaration there are over 80 signatories affixed with an update link to other names constantly being added. Muslim Americans it appears have as good an understanding of the US Constitution as some of their antagonists.

Florida Minister says he won’t back down-UPDATE


The minister in Florida who wants to have a burn the Quran day on September 11 says he won’t back down from doing it and I say good for him!  It is his constitutional right to burn copies of the Quran, the religious book of Muslims.  Let’s not forget we live in a country where  it is the right of any American to burn the US flag, and we all remember the turmoil  reaching that decision caused America. It is one of the “hazards” of living in a free society; protested speech against patriotic or religious symbols is not illegal. American Muslims more than any other group, should understand that,  and  should register their disagreement with the burning  of Qurans act,with thoughtful and or provocative editorials like this one ,  or planned  peaceful  protests like this,  for even though what Jones wants to do is legal it is morally reprehensible.  That’s as far as his opponents should take it, however.

It is this type of dissent  Muslims should expect from  those who oppose their building of a masjid near the site of the former WTC buildings; one may disagree with the building of the Cordoba House at Park 51, and may protest the  building going up there, however it is the right of the supporters of that project, codified by the legal authorities responsible, for the house to be built there and Cordoba House’s supporters should proceed with resolve to see it through  even during times of  intense opposition to it AND  the opponents should resign themselves to the inevitability of its completion .  What will then become a true battle of ideas a distinction between those who oppose book burning versus those who oppose a religious house of worship will be how the different groups express their opposition and accept the rule of law.  In other words, the behavior of the opposition will have more of an impact on the public debate about the presence of Islam in America than the action which spurs that opposition.   America will have to choose between those who promote racist, stereotypical, violent reaction to protected speech and religious freedom and those whose opposition is principled, respectful or thoughtful.

Given America’s past inclination to mob/racist rule the outcome is not so certain and definitely not in the near future.  One of the reasons why we must have this frank discussion about race in this country is because the racist template we’ve set for ourselves over the years  allows us to insert whatever group of the day we want to hate into  it and then hurl invective and discriminatory actions at them which we try to make into law to suppress them.  We still have not managed to steer clear of this disease because we haven’t really tried to cure it. Saddle up America, here we go again; we’re in for another  protracted campaign for the soul of this country.

UPDATE

Jones did back down and if anyone can understand the reasons why he did so, please explain them to me.  The man who claimed to have received messages from God  is unfathomable, sick, crazy in the head and one as intimately  familiar with him as his own daughter has come out and said so.  There’s even mention of  a mental disorder here as well. Why we, citizenship media as well as corporate media gave him so much of our time, bandwidth and news print is one of the mysteries of life.  A “pastor” with a minuscule congregation of about 50 managed to hold the entire world hostage with his delusions of grandeur and his fear injected venom which paralyzed a nation, diverted its attention from a more pressing national agenda than his personal dementia and left us, after his ‘never mind’ moment feeling used and abandoned from it all.  We deserve it….we put in way too much time feeding the ego of a man whose ego is as large as any other megalomaniac or larger, being called by a US Army general, the Secretary of Defense, the FBI, the NYC police chief and countless others who otherwise wouldn’t give you the time of day can be very gratifying, but what did all of that give us, the People?  It revealed for us that dark side of our collective nature that loves to be frightened and angered; it allowed the haters in our midst to feed us their daily ration of  hatred and loathing for “others” who are really “we”, “us”.  Someone wrote on their headline, ‘Florida Pastor Makes National Jackass of Himself’….and my answer would be no he didn’t.  He made jackasses out of us.

No Free Speech AGAINST Israel


We always hear how Muslim groups try to limit or stifle free speech, especially when it comes to anything critical of their religion. Those attempts, such as they were,  have not legalized the cessation of speech critical of religion or Islam, however, in Israel a bill has been introduced in the Knesset to criminalize any advocacy of boycott action against Israel by ANYONE ANYWHERE in the world!  What that means is this

As to individuals who are not citizens or residents of Israel, their right to enter the country will be deprived for at least 10 years should they be involved in a boycott. Another measure would ban foreign entities or anyone on their behalf from engaging in any actions using Israeli bank accounts, Israeli stocks, or Israeli land.

Quite naturally this is aimed at the Israel divestment movement taking place in the West and the people backing this bill also want to freeze any money such groups have in Israel and appropriate it for the State of Israel, in effect stealing the money or rather in more polite terms nationalizing foreign investment.  So anyone anywhere in the world who calls for boycotting Israel could either lose access to their money or  be assessed a penalty of 30,000 shekels just for exercising the right to protest Israeli treatment of its indigenous people.  BOYCOTT!

Freedom of speech? When it comes to Israel, no!


During the heyday of the cartoons featuring a terrorist prophet of Islam, with a turban in the form of a bomb, we were told free speech was necessary even if it upset the sensitivities of people; in order to live in a more perfect union it was necessary to uphold the principles on which this country were founded than it was to address people’s feelings.  Yes, I know that the cartoons of the Prophet of Islam were featured in a Danish newspaper, but even they the Danish were seen as a bulwark against giving in to terrorism and they had the right as we do here in America to freedom of speech and should not be intimidated from or waive that right.  Yeah…that’s what we were told when it came to dealing with Muslims’ reactions to news they might not deem pleasant.

However, such openness to free speech is not seen in much the same positive or necessary light when it comes to speech or criticism about the state of Israel, as the editors and owners of The Berkeley Daily Planet have found out.  A quick look at the website for the paper, http://www.berkeleydaily.org/issue/2009-11-28, reveals a paper that seems interested in its local affairs, from the closing of a post office location to citizen displeasure at the response of the local university to the financial crisis, but some people, notably Jim Sinkinson of Infocom Group, a media relations company and John Gertz of dpwatchdog.com  seem to think the paper should please the Jewish citizens of the Bay area by printing stories they consider non-offensive towards the state of Israel.  Not exactly the definition of freedom of speech, nor the role of a publication.  In fact almost every group in the world would make that demand, that any publication should print only those items that meet the emotional needs of that particular group and at the same time not offend group sensitivities.  Usually the answer to such a request is simply “nuts”, a free press means it reports what it wants to report and it the media outlet determines what is responsible and reasonable as it pertains to its readership/viewers/listeners and their values.  Fortunately, the editor of the Daily Planet, Becky O’Malley, has said essentially the same thing when defending her paper against the charges leveled by the two who want to limit her papers’ right to publish articles or columns critical of Israel.  In fact, the classiest response I’ve seen to date to her critics is quintessentially free speech in nature, ‘they (her detractors) could start their own paper.’  That alone should be enough to silence her critics,  for in throwing down that challenge O’Malley has defended her right to free speech and a free press and encouraged them to do the same even in opposition to her.

European Racism=War on Islam


I received a letter from a friend which said the editor of the Danish newspaper who published the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist died in a fire. While there was no rejoicing about the matter on the part of my friend, he did seem to indicate that’s what happens to people who abuse religious figures, an act of retribution from God Almighty and that he was satisfied, not rejoicing, with what he thought was the end of this editor’s life. I had to break the news to him that it was just a rumor and that no one associated with the cartoon fiasco had died a terrible death; indeed it appears no one at the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten , had died at all. I think he’ll get over his disappointment, but I began to wonder about that whole issue of the cartoons for it was meant to trigger an emotional response from people in order to highlight an already preconceived notion the editors and owner of the paper had about Muslims. Unfortunately, some Muslims reinforced the stereotypes brewing in the heads of the folks at JP, but what happened at that newspaper also underscores the terrible hypocrisy employed by them and their martyrdom complex of freedom of speech.

It must be noted the newspaper published this set of 12 cartoon panels about the Prophet twice, in late 2005 and again in 2008. It’s kind of interesting the publications occurred during campaigning season for American elections, but it took almost six months for the controversy to come to a boiling point and become an international issue after the first cartoons were published in ’05. The Muslims in Denmark handled it quite well for the most part, organizing and holding peaceful protests to make their feelings known on an issue of importance to them, but with regards to all things dealing in religion, anti-religious forces came into play and distorted what is a very real issue. The newspaper said it was a free speech issue, but it wasn’t.  Earlier the paper had declined to publish a cartoon about Jesus, the son of Mary, offering as an “excuse” the quality of the cartoon wasn’t good enough for their paper.  (Shouldn’t that have been up to the readers of the paper to decide?)

Fleming Rose, the cultural editor of the paper at the time of the publication of the caricatures of Islam’s prophet, went on to say later his paper would publish Holocaust denial cartoons in conjunction with an Iranian newspaper, but that idea too was nixed by the editor in chief of Jyllands-Posten, although they did go on to publish the winning and runner up submissions of the “contest” sponsored by the Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri. Quite naturally, this opened up the newspaper to accusations of a double standard, it is, and hypocrisy on freedom of speech, which again it is.  Of course the editors of the paper don’t see it that way, and they never will.  That Muslim groups were not given the right to edit or decide what should have been printed in the paper about their religion should be given the say weight as it was given to Christian and Jewish groups, otherwise talk of freedom of press and or freedom of an editor to decide what he/she puts in their newspaper is only lies.  Europe is awash in anti-social behavior from religions and religious extremists across all divides; hyping one group’s extremists while ignoring another’s is demagoguery at its finest and all at the hands of an active, partisan press.  That said, I’ve found the perfect cartoon to express all the 600 plus words of this post.  Enjoy.

revisionism_v_cartoons