Saturday, 28 February 2015
A Clash of Cultures at Charlie Hebdo

by Joseph S. Spoerl (March 2015)

In a recent article, Cinnamon Stillwell documents the absurd lengths to which many American college professors have gone to shift blame for the Charlie Hebdo massacre from the Islamist murderers to non-Muslim Westerners.[1] A typical quote comes from Duke University professor of Islamic Studies Omid Safi: “The traumas of the French Muslim population today are linked to and an extension of the violence inflicted by the French on Muslims colonized for decades.” Safi conveniently overlooks the fact that non-Muslims have suffered, and continue to suffer, far more under Islamic imperialism than Muslims ever suffered under Western imperialism.[2] Like Omid Safi, too many American college professors blame Westerners themselves for the violence directed at them by Islamist thugs. They certainly do not blame the Islamic faith or its founder, Muhammad.  more>>>

Posted on 02/28/2015 5:21 AM by NER
28 Feb 2015
Send an emailRon Friedman
Terrific commentary. Well stated. And easy to understand. In addition, such comments are extremely important to those who value the freedom of conscience which we cherish as much as life itself. Thank you.

2 Mar 2015
Send an emailPaddy
Since the demise of Christianity decades ago, the dying West has Marxism and Islam fighting over its carcass. patting ourselves on the back for being so kind to those who attack us comes at a terrible we're just beginning to discover!

3 Mar 2015
Sylvia Parker
Just want to thank you for your continued effort to inform people in this area. I see a very slow awakening to reality, and I know your articles are encouraging those to study and seek further information on this very volatile situation. Blessings to you and your family.

3 Mar 2015
Garreth Byrne
Well yes, western countries tolerate blasphemy and deeply insulting commentary as part of freedom of speech. How beneficial for 'western' societies, which have abandoned traditions of public decorum in favour of a free-for-all promotion of free speech, is the shift from self-restrained public discourse? How beneficial is the abandonment of unifying influences on western society such as the judaeo-christian ethos? What intellectual effect is an emptying-out of cultural heritage in western Europe having on first- and second-generation immigrants from Arab lands and south-east Asia? Do they perceive us as deranged in our media-supported rush to abandon our cultural heritage and hitherto cementing values in religion, art and public manners? Does Charlie Hebdo represent western culture at its best?

10 Mar 2015
Send an emailg murphy donovan
Good get, Dr. Spoerl. The difference, the clash if you will, is between a culture that is willing to fight and die for their world view and a culture that has lost its moorings. We have granted Muslims ethnic and religious immunities, conflating protected belief with malignant practise. Call it premature absolution.

11 Mar 2015
Send an emailJoseph S. Spoerl
In response to Garreth Byrne: I agree that courtesy is an important virtue, and as a Christian, I do not like insulting attacks on my religion. However, atheists have the moral right to state in public why they reject Christianity. If we do not have the right to explain in public why we accept or reject a religion, then we do not have full religious freedom. Christians must answer atheist arguments with cogent counter-arguments, not with violence or laws that make our faith immune to public criticism. In doing this, we set a good example for Muslims.

12 Mar 2015
Send an emailThomas Lee
A concise and accurate analysis of Islam, at least it its most fanatical aspects. One hopes that Dr. Spoerl's portrayal does not lead to the conclusion that the West, led by its "Christian" principles, declare unremitting war against Islam, which numbers millions of adherents not committed to the militant teachings within its Scriptures, just as do the Christians who emphasize the teachings of the nonviolent Jesus. There are readings of both religions that can help find a road to mutual accord. The alternative is unacceptable.

12 Mar 2015
Hugh Fitzgerald
Re the last comment: What is the "reading" of Islam -- that is, of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira -- that could lead one to conclude that any accommodation is possible between Muslims now living in non-Muslim lands, and both the indigenous non-Muslims, many of whom no longer have any religion, and thus are in Muslim eyes even worse than members of Ahl al-Kitab, the People of the Book, and the non-Muslim immigrants, who are also threatened not only by the "most fanatical" Muslims, but by all Muslims if they do not ignore the central tenets of, and are not affected by the attitudes that naturally arise within societies or families suffused with, Islam. The last statement suggests that Mr. Lee thinks that the only possibility is either "unremitting war" against Islam, apparently meaning violence, and accommodation. But those are not the only possibilities. For example, recognizing the immiscible nature of Islam, it makes sense all over the Western world to cease admitting Muslims, to encourage, in various ways, Muslims to return to their countries of origin, or to some place in Dar al-Islam, and to cease to accommodate the incessant Muslim demands for changes in Western laws and customs and understandings, beginning but not ending with the right to criticize Islam or to mock any part of it, including Muhammad. And there are many other things -- merely the spread of knowledge among non-Muslims is among the most important -- that will make our countries naturally less naively open to, more warily hostile to, Islam and those who continue, despite what they can be held now to know about its texts and the observable behavior of Muslims over the last 1400 years, in all the lands conquered, and all the non-Muslim peoples subjugated, to be adherents or to call themselves such. Even making available such works as Anwar Sheikh's "Islam the Arab National Religion" or Ibn Warraq's "Why I Am Not A Muslim" in subsidised editions, by the tens of millions, can be part of an "unremitting" war that does not require any use of violence. In fact, violence won't work, and in the Middle East, it is much better to allow "Takfiris" and "Rafidite dogs" (as they call each other) to fight it out, without any Western intervention, save possibly to protect the remaining Christians and the Kurds, whatsoever. Not violence, but cunning, and relentless war of another kind than that Mr. Lee seems to think is the only possble kind.

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