Friday, 11 May 2007
Let’s start with the predictable: the usual nonsense and blague, in this silly and insidious article, from all those seemingly shocked, seemingly puzzled family members and family friends of the ringleader in the Fort-Dix mass-murder plot. Schnewer the “Palestinian”:
"said her son was innocent, honest and the victim of religious persecution." What's more, her son was not the ringleader of a plot to mass-murder supposedly "fellow" Americans, but rather in her eyes (and the reporter begins the article with this mere collection of excuses and diversions and lies) a victim: "He doesn't have a gun, he doesn't have anything," Fatem Shnewer said of Mohammed Ibrahim Shnewer. He was targeted, she said, "because he's religious."
She is heartbroken, this hard-working, gentle woman with her touching small family store: "My heart kills me," said Fatem Shnewer.
Her son, for the newspaper, was "born in Jordan." For some reason, the identity he and the whole family were aggressively insistent upon -- that they were "Palestinians" -- has dropped from any mention. He was merely "born in Jordan."
was just like the mother, with her little store. Pluck the first three cliched adjectives you suspect will be used, and just look, you were right:
"...the elder Shnewer was responsible, hardworking and very religious."
"Responsible, hardworking, and very religious."
James Atalah, who handles "media relations" for "All-City Cab," reinforces the rosy view of the father: "He treats the drivers good. He treats the customers good. This is really unbelievable."
There are two main themes in this article. One is that the jihadist is a victim. Muslims all over the Western world, all over the non-Western Infidel world, are “victims.” They are “victims” of Christians and Jews, of Hindus and Buddhists. They are “victims” of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, of Christians in Indonesia and the Philippines and Nigeria and Sudan. They are “victims” of Jews in Israel. They are “victims” of Buddhists in Thailand, or Buddhist statues, balefully glaring down at them, for such an intolerable height and unacceptable magnificence, in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. They are victims.
Another is the hardworking, responsible, decent behavior of the father and the mother. Of what relevance is that? -- you are already muttering under your mental breath. Can’t one be a hardworking, decent, true-blue Muslim, and still hate Infidels, still wish them ill, still take delight in seeing others, or possibly helping others, to put them in their place vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims, or even to punish them for daring to fight back?
One runs a small family market, no doubt putting in all kinds of time, and the other is a "hardworking" cabdriver who "treats the customers good" and therefore, "this is really unbelievable." Yes, to the surprise of all, to their total amazement, to their utter wonderment, their "religious" son, son of a hardworking, responsible, treating-the-customers-good taxi-driving but also "religious" father, would appear to be the ringleader of a plot to mass-murder Americans.
So the first theme is puzzlement: puzzlement of the mother, which is on display in the oh-so-careful and absurd remarks, in all their fatuous solemnity, about trying to figure out how the FBI and other groups can possibly figure out, can find out, the mystery to that matter of "what radicalizes or self-radicalizes" a teeny-tiny barely perceptible handful of Muslims in America. What a statement of the case! What a puzzlement -- that the slow-witted, ponderous, lachrymose-voiced Senator Lieberman asks an FBI official who answers that yes, it is a puzzle, but with the help and advice of Muslim groups (he lists a few), the FBI will try, try to figure out just what it is that would lead these ordinary (sons of hardworking, responsible, good-to-their-customers Americans) people to magically become plotters, eager to kill Americans, in this case at Fort Dix, in other cases elsewhere, at home and abroad. There was nice, kind, hardworking Intel engineer "Mike" -- Maher -- Hawash, whom Intel’s Vice-President swore up and down in time-honored I'll-eat-my-hat fashion, that good old "Mike," computer engineer "Mike,” textbook-writing "Mike," father-of-Little-League-children "Mike," simply had to be completely innocent, and kept saying that right up to the day "Mike" appeared in court and pled guilty, before going off to serve a 27-year sentence.
There was quiet recent-UNC-graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, who was at his wits' end, when he graduated out of class synch in December, and like so many recent college graduates, didn't know what to do with himself. He fell into a funk, and "rediscovered" Islam. Though his parents had fled the Islamic Republic of Iran, and were described as not religious but rather "secular," all it took was for Taheri-Azar to know that he was a "Muslim" in order for him to rediscover his “true identity” and to go back and reread the Qur'an, possibly supplementing that book with -- who knows? -- Hadith and Sira. (But the Qur'an alone is quite enough, is more than enough, to inspire hatred toward Infidels -- as any apostate, from Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Wafa Sultan to Ibn Warraq to Ali Sina, can tell you).
And there are so many others, so “well-integrated” into American society. Their names one can find in the archives of this website, or in articles collected elsewhere. There are those caught at various levels of plotting and scheming to kill those whom we hopefully, and inaccurately, describe as their “fellow Americans.” And then there are all those who are terrorists in posse, if at the moment not in esse, and who may, at a later date, tomorrow, or next month, or seven years from now, “rediscover” their Islam -- like so many the outwardly-secular fun-loving British Muslims who were involved in the bombing of the London Underground, or those who were caught in time. Then there were those in Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, and elsewhere, some of whom were “religious” (we know what that means) and some of whom were described as outwardly -- and for all we know possibly for quite a while inwardly -- “secular.” But they maintained an awareness that they were, they remained, they had therefore at some point to think and to act as “Muslims.”
This fact finally will, one hopes, be understood by a sufficient number of people to matter: that “radical” or “extremist” Muslims are simply good Muslims not distorting, but following, the texts. (And Bin Laden’s writings, including those finally translated by Raymond Ibrahim and soon to be published, show him to be a perfectly conventional follower of the doctrine of Islam. This is not “teased out,” but is plain as day. It is a doctrine carried out by others using instruments of Jihad other than terrorism, or even combat, qital.) In Western countries, “tolerance” and “diversity” and “pluralism” have been elevated to Articles of Faith never subject to any questioning, or any discussion of what those words mean or should mean, what constitutes legitimate limits on them, what constitutes a danger. Yet nothing constitutes a danger to real tolerance, and real diversity, and real pluralism, than looking the other way at a Total System, a belief-system that inculcates the idea that there should be no diversity, no tolerance, and no pluralism. Islam alone should exist in the world ideally, though non-Muslims can continue to exist in that state of Shari’a-regulated humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity known as being a “dhimmi.” There is or should be no tolerance for those who set up any kind of obstacle to Islam, and no genuine pluralism -- for the very idea that Islam should merely be one faith among others is absurd to a Muslim. Islam is the True Faith, and all others are false and disgusting. Some, the ones deemed polytheistic, are the most disgusting of all – and Christian believers in the Trinity are among those regarded as guilty of shirk, or polytheism.
When a prudent desire for self-preservation, physical and civilizational, finally forces a sufficient number of Infidel peoples and states to discover the ideological roots of Muslim terrorism, then those whose duty it is to instruct and to protect us will cease to commit folly after folly, based on a miscomprehension of Islam. Then the security forces and the politicians will cease to offer up the spectacle that one had to endure yesterday, in that careful colloquy between Senator Lieberman and some FBI official referring to the guidance the FBI was receiving from Muslim groups, as they tried, tried, tried to figure out what it was, what in the world it could possibly be, that made outwardly sweet, integrated, presumably grateful-to-America Muslims (most of the plotters had arrived in America at a young age, their parents escaping religio-political strife in the Balkans), turn to Jihad.
This failure, still, to begin to think clearly about the nature of Islam, to look carefully at it, is responsible for the follies, both foreign and domestic, of the Western governments and peoples, and especially of this Administration. The examination of Islam should be done, and not in haste -- not by assigning the task to some young staff member to “read up and get back to me on this” with a three-page bullet-riddled “Executive Summary” of what Islam is all about (perhaps sent to a Muslim group for vetting as to its accuracy, and so that they can object, and make any changes, they wish to).
Saddam Hussein made every effort to convince others that he had such weapons even in the stage-whisper way he denied having them. But little did the Americans know that his intended audience was not the United States, but Iran, of which he was fearful. And little did Saddam Hussein know that the Americans would take his suspect behavior, intended to convince Iran he had such weapons, to heart. He didn’t know they would follow the lead of uninformed (J. B. Kelly told me recently that Paul Wolfowitz “knew nothing about the Middle East”) and terminally naïve believers in the “bringing freedom” to Iraq idea as Wolfowitz. He didn’t know about the baleful influence of Bernard Lewis (“either we bring them freedom or they will destroy us”), or about the amazing swath cut through official Washington by all kinds of secular, westernized, plausible Shi’a-in-exile (Kanan Makiya, Ahmad Chalabi, Rend al-Rahim, etcetera) who had forgotten what the real masses, including the Shi’a masses, were like. Chalabi left Iraq in 1958, as a boy, and the others, all members of an intellectual, social, and economic elite in Iraq, had been in the West for several decades. They were eager for the American army to remove Saddam Hussein, and eager to foresee or promise all kinds of good things. This led Wolfowitz to confidently foresee that the war would cost far less than the $40 billion spent to monitor Iraq, and Lewis to declare that “the liberation of Baghdad will make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession.”
And the same ignorance of Islam that prevented the Administration from identifying the foe not as “terror” (as in “war on terror”) but rather as Jihad, using whatever instruments offer themselves at a particular time, in a particular space (such as the money weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest -- not one of which will be affected by the “success,” as defined by the Bush Administration, in Iraq. This ignorance caused the Administration to fall for Shi’a-in-exile blandishments, and can be seen in the new desire to remain in Iraq, this time because it is the Sunnis calling the tune. The rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, warn direly of what might happen, issuing shrill Cassandra-cries about “the Shi’a crescent” and so on. These are designed to keep the Americans in Iraq in order not to fight but rather to protect the Sunnis from the full force of Shi’a counterattacks -- including those of those “militias” we hear so much about. Those “militias,” in the end, will be the only force that, in inflicting tit-for-tat violence, will stand a chance of changing not Sunni minds, but Sunni behavior -- or at least keeping the Sunnis bottled up in Anbar and parts of Diyala province, while the Shi’a continue to empty Baghdad of its Sunnis.
The Administration does not know where to put its feet and hands. Suckered initially by the Shi’a to enter Iraq, President Bush never bothers to study Islam. His advisers, such as Prof. David Forte, are a succession of ignoramuses. But he does discover a book by Anatoly Scharansky (Natan Sharansky), with naïve assumptions about how “democracies” behave, and Bush runs -- Crazy-Legs Bush -- right down the field with this idea, making a goal, or attempting to make one. But it turns out he is running in the wrong direction, and he makes a goal, in Iraq, but for the other side, for Islam. For the entire effort in Iraq has been directed to preventing sectarian and ethnic conflict among its Muslims (and by extension, among Muslim peoples elsewhere), and to sacrifice American lives, use up American equipment, spend American hundreds of billions, toward this preposterously impossible, and absurdly unhelpful (to the Camp of Infidels) end.
The purple-thumbed display was not an endorsement of “democracy,” as Bush fondly assumes. It was a display, as Ali Allawi has written, of “identity” politics. The Shi’a voted en masse, as they were told to vote, for Shi’a interests. In the first election (January 2005) the Sunni Arabs largely abstained, because they understood that they constituted a small minority. In fact they are 19% of the Iraqi population, even if they continue to believe that their “true” numbers are, simply must be because they want them to be, far larger. The Kurds voted, but at the same time voted, in the Kurdish north, for independence from Iraq. That desire has been strengthened, not weakened, by the proposed new law about oil revenue-sharing and exploration and production agreements. Instead of pointing out how, in what ways, Islam flatly contradicts the letter and spirit of Western, advanced democracy, Bush tried to slander those who raised such matters by describing as “racists” those who thought that “Arabs aren’t ready or capable of democracy” (or words to that effect). He missed, he keeps missing, the part about Islam. Yet this is the central part, the huge part, the unavoidable part of the story. He will not look at it steadily and whole, but instead keeps trying to keep up this pretense that bringing “freedom” to “ordinary moms and dads” in the Middle East can be done, and makes sense from the viewpoint of American, and larger Infidel, interests.
And in the same way, domestic terrorism is treated so that we are forced to endure the spectacle of senators and FBI agents, and others who should at this point know better (and know too that they have a duty to help instruct those whom they presumably are trying to protect, for we need to know about Islam, we need to know what the menace is, where it is to be located), telling us that the whole damn thing, with the Fort Dix plotters, is just a mystery. We can’t figure it out. We are “working with Muslim organizations” to “get a handle” on this, or to find the “trip-wire” that sets people off, that “radicalizes” them. The “trip-wire”? The goddam “trip-wire”? What sets people off, if they are Muslims, could be any real or imaginary slight or setback or injury, whether it is personal or political -- loss of status, job, spouse, confusion as to what to do after college, dawning realization that Muslims are not in this land lording it over non-Muslims, as by rights they should, and so on and so forth. Anything could be the “trip-wire,” within their brains, of Islam, and taking Islam to heart.
Analytical pollyannas have tried, not without initial success, to drag in every possible other explanation. They tried “poverty.” Then it was discovered, and the evidence presented overwhelming and unanswerable, that terrorists by and large are middle-class, and are richer than the average Muslims. Poor Muslims leading a hardscrabble existence, in remote villages. They haven’t the time, or the weaponry, or the opportunity, very often, to indulge in violent Jihad. Then came the matter of “education” and other “opportunities,” and again, the evidence shows that Muslim terrorists have received more schooling, on the whole, than other Muslims. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the more deprived Muslims are, the less likely they are to be a threat, and that attempts to teach them, as are being undertaken in parts of Western Europe, the local languages and cultures will not make many of them better “integrated” into society (as Sarkozy appears to have thought) but will rather provide them with the skills to be better propagandists for, defenders of, Islam. For one example, look at sinister, seductive, plausible Tariq Ramadan, and compare his influence with that of some frothing imam who does not command the local language, and does not know how to deal with or manipulate the mentalities of non-Muslims (as al-Hilali in Australia).
And the second theme of this article is also related to matters foreign as well as domestic.
That theme is the one of “victimization.” A man has been caught, a man whose family was given refuge in this country, a man whose family engaged in free enterprise, with two parents who both found work, a man who grew up here and was presumably nourished here. What did he learn about America? What, about America, caused him to identify with the country and his fellow citizens? Or what was it, what could it possibly have been, to cause him never to identify with America, nor with his fellow non-Muslim citizens, but rather lead him to wish to mass-murder them? What could it be? Poverty? General wretchedness? Or could that word “religious” applied to him by his mother, and by fellow cab-drivers to his father as well, be the key? Could that be the guilty culprit for his views and acts? Of course, we are not supposed to look at religion too closely. Rather, we should go off with the Muslim groups who are for all the world akin to a bunch of O.J.Simpsons encouraging us all to go off “in search of the real killer” -- as they search with us for the “root causes” that never ever have anything to do with Islam.
I’ve used the playwright’s title – Elizabethean or Jacobean, I can’t remember – before as an ending – but it comes to mind as apt yet again:
A mad world, my masters!
Posted on 05/11/2007 12:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
12 May 2007
The always reliable tocsin: Hugh Fitzgerald. Does anyone wonder,as I frequently do, if Geoge Bush or anyone in our government understands what the Muslim is? (Does he know what a
12 May 2007
18 May 2007
TEST TEST TEST
This is a test!
18 May 2007
This is a test!
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