Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Washington Post and Geneive Abdo's ode to Sharia

Geneive Abdo, writing in The Washington Post, offers a disturbing appraisal of the Secular Islam Summit (hat tip: LGF).

...The self-proclaimed secularists represent only a small minority of Muslims. The views among religious Muslims from CAIR more closely reflect the views of the majority...

If this is true, Abdo should be anything but happy about it. After all, Democratic Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) -- hardly hawks -- have pilloried CAIR for its extremist views. Durbin has called CAIR "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect"; Schumer said that, "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism... [and] intimate links with Hamas."

...The secular Muslim agenda is promoted because these ideas reflect a Western vision for the future of Islam...

No, the secular Muslim agenda is promoted because it acknowledges freedom: the freedom to practice religions other than Islam, the freedom to criticize any religion, and the rights of the individual.

...Since the Sept. 11 attacks, everyone from high-ranking officials in the Bush administration to the author Salman Rushdie has prescribed a preferred remedy for Islam: Reform the faith so it is imbued with Western values -- the privatization of religion, the flourishing of Western-style democracy -- and rulers who are secular, not religious, Muslims. The problem with this prescription is that it is divorced from reality...

What Abdo leaves unsaid is that freedom is at incontrovertible odds with hardline Islamic totalitarianism, represented by countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran. There is no concept of freedom of speech in these regimes; nor any real freedom of religion. Abdo, in other words, cheerleads for totalitarianism.

Abdo also deigns to ignore the utter failures of Arab governments that have embraced hardline ideologies; failures represented by war, censorship, mass imprisonments, sanctioned political murders, and slavery.

...I traveled to Florida to serve as the keynote speaker at an annual convention hosted by CAIR. On my way to the event, I spoke with Imam Siraj Wahaj, a charismatic intellectual... who has thousands of followers here and abroad...

Wahaj is no stranger to anti-American ideology. Salon reports that Wahaj "invited convicted terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman to speak at his mosque, and... testified on his behalf. ...Just as the USSR fell, so too will the U.S., Wahaj said, 'unless America changes its course from the new world order and accepts the Islamic agenda.'"

From this and other statements, one could easily surmise that Wahaj is an advocate for the destruction of America and its way of life. And it's telling that Abdo would utilize Wahaj as an aspirational example.

...the political future of the Arab world is likely to consist of Islamic parties that are far less tolerant of what has historically been the U.S. foreign policy agenda in the region and that domestically are far more committed to implementing sharia law in varying degrees...

Odd, then, that Abdo fails to mention that model bastion of governmental efficiency, the Taliban. Or other venues where the application of sharia law has resulted in stonings of adulterous women, floggings and executions of homosexuals, suppression of speech and debate, and complete bans on Christianity and Judaism.

Odd, then, that Abdo fails to mention any other religions and how they might coexist with her sharia states.

...the future of the Islamic world will be much more Islamic than Western... ...Instead of championing the loud voices of the secular minority who are capturing media attention with their conferences, manifestos and memoirs, the United States would be wise instead to pay more attention to the far less loquacious majority...

And left unsaid is the only conclusion that can be reached. Islamic Totalitarianism must either be tempered from within or battled from without. As John Lewis, writing in The Objective Standard, noted:

...A government that turns its force against its own citizens, especially to impose an ideological doctrine on them, subordinates the rights of individuals to the demands of the State. This is statism—the elevation of the State over the individual, and the inversion of the very purpose of government. Statism is the greatest killer in history—dwarfing all attacks by criminals—precisely because it is motivated by some form of mystical political ideology. Because statists claim an authority that is above the rights of man—whether the Fuehrer’s master race, the communists’ dialectic, or the theocrat’s God—they do not recognize the principle of individual rights or the self-ownership of men on earth; rather, they claim the right to rule men, and to kill with impunity anyone who disobeys the ideology or regime.

...The Islamic Totalitarian movement has a... fire burning at its core—an authoritarian, state-centered religion, replete with state-funded educational indoctrination, a massive suicide cult on behalf of the deity and state, and hope for a final battle over the Americans. The key to extinguishing this fire, I submit—the sine qua non required to end the spiral of indoctrination, jihad, and suicidal attacks on the West—is to do what was done against Japan: to break the political power of the state religion. State Islam—Totalitarian Islam—rule by Islamic Law—must be obliterated...

Bringing long-term peace to the world, said FDR, "involves the simple formula of placing the objective of this war in terms of an unconditional surrender. . . . Unconditional surrender means not the destruction of the . . . [enemy] populace, but does mean the destruction of a philosophy . . . which is based on the conquest and subjugation of other peoples."

Lewis concludes with a call for freedom: "The Islamic State — Totalitarian Islam — must go. And it is the moral responsibility of every American to demand it."

Conversely, the undercurrent of Abdo's theme is a seeming desire for the destruction of America and the stripping away of all individual freedoms. Abdo doesn't point to a model Arab government that embraces both freedom of speech and freedom to practice other religions (yes, even Christianity and Judaism).

In failing to do so, Abdo markets her own version of religious extremism; a totalitarianism that rejects all other religions. It is a totalitarianism that is at odds with individual freedom. It is a position at odds with all that is America. Abdo's piece, in other words, is a call for statism over individualism.

Abdo is therefore advocating war. She rejects the concepts of individual freedoms and instead praises the scope and direction of sharia law, which acknowledges none of the freedoms that Americans would recognize.

That The Washington Post provides a forum to Abdo for her anti-American drivel is stunning -- but, truth be told, not out of character.

Postscript: Abdo's website notes that she has received support from an intriguing cast of characters:

From 2001-2002, Ms. Abdo was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. That year, Ms. Abdo also received a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim fellowship. Ms. Abdo has also earned research grants from the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

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